UK tech employs more foreign workers from outside the EU than within

Lynsey Barber
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Passport control at Gatwick Airport
New figures shed light on foreign workers in the digital technology industry (Source: Getty)

The impact of Brexit on the technology sector as it loses access to a pool of talent from Europe could be less severe than previously expected.

Foreign workers are more likely to be from outside the EU, figures from an in-depth new report analysing the make up of the 1.7m strong digital workforce reveal.

Read more: More proof tech can be the engine of UK economic growth

Of the 13 per cent in the industry not from the UK, just over half are from outside the EU. That's according to research by Tech City UK and Nesta, designed to dig deeper on migration figures and help inform policy in the wake of the vote to leave the European Union.

In London, foreign workers from outside the EU accounted for 20 per cent of the digital workforce, while those from within accounted for 11 per cent.

They were also found to be more highly educated, with 17.6 per cent of international workers from outside the EU qualified to Masters or PHD level, compared to 12.5 per cent of those from within the EU.

However, employment of EU nationals in digital jobs has grown at a faster rate in the past five years to 2015, the latest figures available, than those from outside the bloc.

Read more: UK tech has shrugged off Brexit with record investment

“We know that entrepreneurs are concerned about the extent to which tech communities depend on a flow of talent from EU and non-EU countries to run their businesses," said Tech City UK senior insights manager Dr George Windsor.

"By collating an accurate picture of the mix of nationalities in the sector we can pinpoint where pressures might exist in the future."

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