The Home Office has been censured by the fintech industry today after announcing it would delay a fast-track visa scheme slated for delivery this month.
Fintech firms have been calling for a ‘scale-up’ visa to ensure they can tempt top talent from overseas, with the specialist visa one of the key recommendations of a major government-commissioned review of the fintech sector last year.
But speaking at the Innovate Finance Global Summit today, Philippa Rouse, a director at the Home Office, said the scheme would now be pushed back to August.
The decision to delay the visa has drawn the ire of the industry after repeated calls for a rollout.
“The Kalifa Review recommended the creation of a new visa stream more than 12 months ago,” said Janine Hirt, boss of industry body Innovate Finance.
“This is an unfortunate delay which will have a material impact on the growth of UK FinTech companies.
Hirt said that fintech firms had said “repeatedly” at the summit that the competition for top talent is fierce and failure to act would harm firms.
It came as Rouse confirmed a number of other scheme would be set up in the coming months, including High Potential Individual Route, which will allow a short term work visa for graduates of the world’s top 50 universities, and an Innovator Visa, which would be broadened out to attract top entrepreneurs from overseas into the UK.
“For the current innovator route, there is a minimum investment threshold and we’re taking that away,” she said.
“Through a commercial exercise we are selecting some endorsing bodies to assess innovation and entrepreneurism. We should be delivering these reforms in Autumn.”