The fintech revolution is sweeping through Government – but it appears it hasn’t yet hit the Home Office, which bars start-ups who bank from Revolut from acquiring a vital visa sponsorship licence.
Recently-founded businesses looking to gain a licence to “sponsor” foreign workers through the government’s new visa system must submit evidence of a corporate bank account in the UK.
But City A.M. understands that applications made by businesses which bank with Revolut are unable to meet the Home Office’s criteria.
Revolut doesn’t hold a full banking licence in the UK, instead using an electronic money land payments licence regulated by the FCA. But that hasn’t stopped it attracting almost 4 million customers in the UK and half a million global business customers, many of whom are in the capital’s start-up community.
The decision to bar Revolut business account holders from visa sponsorship seems to run counter to the Government’s pro-fintech push and a commitment to allowing growing businesses access to the ‘best and the brightest’ global talent.
Michael Young, the founder of health start-up LindusHealth, came across the problem when trying to hire a software engineer from abroad.
The licence application was rejected as LindusHealth uses Revolut – which yesterday announced it now operates banking services in 28 European countries after an expansion – as the firm’s business bank.
Young told City A.M. yesterday the bar would “hold back huge numbers of start-ups who want to employ the best people from around the world and has caused us a massive headache with our own hiring plans.”
James Gibson, the Head of Revolut Business, said “we count many startup companies among the thousands of Revolut Business customers, including a number of unicorns.
“We’re surprised and sorry to hear this and will be reaching out to the Home Office as a matter of urgency to see if we can enable the Home Office to update its processes.”
A Home Office spokesperson said “Start-up employers can apply for an employer sponsorship licence if they can demonstrate that they have a current, corporate bank account with a High Street bank regulated by the appropriate financial authority in the country in which it operates and as long as the institution meets the other necessary requirements.”