Thursday 13 June 2019 12:32 pm

Surge in demand for UK tech visas as digital sector draws in top talent

The number of applications for UK tech visas has soared 45 per cent in the last year as the booming tech sector continues to attract global talent.

The surge marks the fifth consecutive year of growth in application numbers, according to industry body Tech Nation.

Read more: Facebook to create 500 tech jobs in London as it opens new engineering hub

India and the US remain the countries with the highest number of visa applications, with popular roles including software development, AI and machine learning, and fintech.

“The UK continues to attract talent from all around the world,” said digital minister Margot James. “This is thanks to our world-leading academic institutions, strong access to finance and long standing reputation for innovation.”

The visa, which was first launched in 2014, enables tech talent from around the world to come and work in the UK’s thriving digital tech sector.

“The UK tech sector is an incredibly attractive place to work, with its unparalleled connectivity, access to exceptional talent, and significant levels of innovation and investment,” said Matt Jeffs-Watts, head of visas at Tech Nation, which is one of five bodies designated to endorse applications for the visa.

It follows a report published earlier this week by the government’s Digital Economy Council, which revealed the digital sector now accounts for 20 per cent of all job vacancies in the UK.

Read more: Digital tech sector now accounts for a fifth of all UK job vacancies

Richard Brown, director of think tank Centre for London, welcomed the figures, but warned the success must not be taken for granted amid changes in the UK’s immigration system.

“London government must continue to lobby for an immigration policy that supports the capital’s rich mix of creative sectors – from tech, to design, to chefs – and should seek more regional control of immigration policy if this cannot be achieved across the country,” he said.