Tech City gets a few more visas for startups

Startup body can offer 250 Tech Nation visas for this year

Government startup quango Tech City UK has been handed 50 more visas for overseas workers amid fears Brexit will keep foreign talent away.

The Tech Nation visa was introduced three years ago to encourage tech-savvy staff to move to the UK to help fill the skills gap.

It's now been temporarily extended to 250 visas from an original total of 200, according to a report in The Telegraph.

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"We are delighted that the Home Office has been able to respond to concerns over how the UK would continue to attract the skills its tech sector needs by allowing Tech City UK to endorse more visas to exceptionally talented individuals," Tech City CEO Gerard Grech told the newspaper.

"The UK must demonstrate that it is open for business to the brightest and best around the world," he added.

The paper noted that Tech City UK was doled out the extra numbers because other organisations, like the Royal Academy of Engineers, didn't use up their own allocations.

The visas also aren't likely to calm fears that Britain's tech industry and in particular startups risk losing out from the immigration clamp down, with the Coalition for a Digital Policy saying the wider technology industry will need 800,000 more skilled workers by 2020 to avoid falling short.

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However, the Tech Nation visa is more about supplying staff to startups than to the wider, established tech industry. According to stats from DueDil revealed last year, more than a fifth of British startups are run by foreign founders, with the number of tech directors from the EU up by 176% since 2010.

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The Brexit referendum last year raised concerns that startups would find it harder to attract top tech talent with some predicting Berlin or Dublin could take London's place as Europe's tech startup hub.

Tech City UK previously said it had received 300 applications for tech visas between April and November 2016, after it relaxed the rules around applying. 

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