mmigration experts have called for further measures to help the recruitment of overseas workers as they welcomed plans for a new “fast-track” visa scheme to help start-up and rapidly growing tech firms.
London First, which represents businesses in the capital, and the immigration law firm Fragomen, said on Tuesday they were pleased by the Chancellor’s pre-Budget announcement of changes that will make it easier for “scale-ups” to bring in highly skilled migrants from abroad.
They will no longer need to obtain a “third-party endorsement” or be backed by a sponsor organisation in a significant simplification of the rules applied as part of the Government’s post-Brexit immigration system.
The move is aimed at boosting the fast-growing FinTech sector, which already contributes around £11 billion a year to the British economy.
But both London First and Fragomen said that further measures should be implemented to meet skills shortages and help the country recover from the impact of the pandemic.
John Dickie, the policy director at London First, said that the requirement for a sponsor should also be removed from other businesses.
He added that changes to the immigration system should also not focus only on “glitzy” sectors such as FinTech and that foreign workers remained necessary at all skill levels. The answers, he said, should include widening the shortage occupation list used to determine which workers can be recruited from abroad and the introduction of a two-year temporary work visa.
“The new visa programme for FinTech is encouraging …. but it will be an opportunity missed if we do not see similar moves more broadly to attract global talent,” he said
Nadine Goldfoot, the managing partner at Fragomen, said that Rishi Sunak’s plans appeared positive, but that the detail of any reforms would be key.
“It’s really going to be about reducing the administration, the speed to ground, and broadening accessibility,” she said.
“The FinTech industry is a big area for economic growth and it’s clear we don’t have the homegrown talent at the moment so it’s also looking more broadly at education and how we can create better and grow talent in tandem with bringing in overseas talent.”