Friday 26 February 2021 4:49 pm

Chancellor set to launch tech visa following Kalifa review

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to launch a fast-track visa programme for tech workers following proposals set out by the Kalifa review into the industry. 

Speaking to the Financial Times Sunak said the scheme would help “scale up” the industry, saying the new visa stream would be a “calling card for what we are about”. 

The government-commissioned review into the fintech sector was led by the former Worldpay boss Ron Kalifa. Among reforms to London’s listing rules and a new £1bn scale-up fund, the review urged a new visa scheme. 

It follows consistent lobbying since the Brexit referendum from tech bosses worried they’re missing out on top talent. The review states foreign workers represent 42 per cent of UK fintech employees with EU workers making up 28 per cent of this. 

“Brexit gives Paris, Berlin and other European fintech hubs a window to capitalise on uncertain messaging. In order to sustain its global dominance in fintech, the UK needs to strengthen its position on immigration or risk a significant shortage in human capital,” the report said.

Sunak said the proposal was “an excellent idea” which will bring some reassurance to tech titans ahead of the Budget. He said the UK’s departure from the EU represents an opportunity for the sector. 

“We want to be innovative, entrepreneurial, agile. We can do things differently after Brexit. We want to be open to the world, we want to be world class at things,” he told the FT.