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29 October 2014 0 Comments
Posted in Opinion, Technology & media

Immigration policy is holding back the UK’s tech boom, claims tech expert

Posted by , Partner

In the last decade Europe has produced $30bn technology start-ups; 11 of them were created here in the UK. Russia, the second best performer, produced only five, meaning that the UK still leads the way.

But the head of a top UK tech start-up has said the UK is in “danger of being hamstrung by a shortage of skills” due to outdated immigration laws.

Speaking in the New Statesmen, Ed Bussey, founder and CEO of Quill Content said the UK needed to catch up with countries like the US in issuing work visas to people coming here to work in the booming tech sector.

He said his company, Quill, who creates unique video, written and graphic content for firms around the globe, has a team of 26 people, but added he was currently struggling to fill 17 vacancies despite growing over 100 per cent year-on-year due to a lack of skills.

Part of the problem he feels is the failure of the British education system to cultivate the right skill set, which he said was being improved by the introduction of coding in UK schools.

However, he went on to say that the main problem was the lack of talent from abroad, which was allowed to enter the UK.

Companies hoping to bring some of the best global talent to the UK from outside of the EU must apply for a specialist Tier 2 visa.

In 2013 10,179 Tier 2 visas were granted, considerably below the 20,700 cap permitted by the UK government.

But far from reflecting a lack of demand, he said such trends were a testament to the red-tape that was crippling the UK’s small businesses, who often lack the resources required to meet the demands of such a sophisticated compliance infrastructure.

He said: “The skills gap in this country is hurting British competitiveness now and, if the government fails to act, it threatens to see the UK fall behind.

“It’s frustrating that the steps being made by the Department for Education are being countered by the Home Office’s increasingly regressive position on immigration.”

He said that the UK needed to recognise the “enormous value that migrant talent offers our economy” or face a decline in Britain’s booming tech sector.

At Royds Solicitors we provide a comprehensive range of services aimed at meeting the demanding requirements of tech firms and can help with a wide range of issues.

To find out how we can help you contact  John North and Claus Andersen.

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