Britain's tech stars rally against Brexit immigration curbs in open letter

Lynsey Barber
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Passport control at Gatwick Airport
Government has signalled a post-Brexit curb on immigration (Source: Getty)

Britain's top entrepreneurs leading the country's hottest startups have called on the government to ensure they can hang on to their access to talent and skills from abroad so they can remain competitive after Brexit.

Zoopla boss Alex Chesterman and founder of fintech unicorn Funding Circle, Samir Desai, are among nearly 50 leaders of the UK’s most promising and successful startups to put there names to an open letter, urging the government to consider the impact of Brexit negotiations on Britain’s multi-billion pound and growing digital economy.

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Other high-profile signatories include Sarah Wood, founder of Unruly, the adtech startup bought by News Corp last year for a multi-million pound sum, Deliveroo boss Dan Warne and Crowdcube chief executive Darren Westlake.

The group of firms have warned that being able to hire internationally is essential for growth and restricting that would slow down business as well as wasting the efforts made over the past five years by the government to create a world leading tech sector.

"As members of Tech City UK’s Future Fifty tech programme, which helps some of the UK’s fastest growing digital companies to scale up, we want to build businesses in an economy that is outward-looking and dynamic. With Brexit, must come great opportunities, but we must be careful to avoid potential pitfalls," said the group in an open letter, first published in City A.M..

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"As tech company founders we want to work with government to find solutions to the digital industries’ need for international talent. Only with a steady flow of international and home-grown talent, British tech can continue to compete on the world’s stage."

It follows a turn towards a so-called hard Brexit, which would potentially limit the number of non-UK workers coming to the UK. Those working in the UK's tech sector were outraged by home secretary Amber Rudd's plans to crackdown on the number of foreign workers coming to the UK.

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