TIGA, the network for games developers and digital publishers and the trade association representing the video games industry, has called on the Government to keep the UK open to creative talent after Brexit.
The trade body, which represents the UK video games industry, has proposed a number of options to ensure that the UK’s video games industry remains a global success story.
Policies submitted by TIGA to the Migration Advisory Committee include the reciprocal freedom of movement for EU workers with a job offer, the introduction of 1,500 work permits per year for the video games industry, and adding video games roles to the Shortage Occupation List.
The UK video games industry adds £1.2 billion every year to the UK economy. Yet, to an important extent, its ability to compete globally depends on its capacity to attract global talent. The video games industry relies on its highly skilled workforce to compete with businesses from around the world.
Currently, EU workers make up 15 per cent of the UK games industry’s workforce, while 5 per cent come from countries outside the EU. The ability to retain these workers and recruit more talent is essential for the industry, as TIGA aims to expand the number of games studios from 688 to 1,200 by 2022.
In its submission to the Migration Advisory Committee, TIGA set out a range of options for a future migration policy:
- reciprocal freedom of movement rights for workers in the video games industry;
- a general reciprocal freedom of movement rights for workers with a job offer;
- the provision of approximately 1,500 work permits per annum for the UK video games industry;
- the addition of roles (e.g. Games Analyst and Engine Programmer) to the Shortage Occupation List where there is a specific skills shortage so that employers can recruit the employees they need without undue delay;
- ensuring that any new immigration arrangements are not complex or costly for business;
- the introduction of a fast-track visa programme for roles on the Shortage Occupation List.
While the ability to attract global talent is essential, TIGA strongly supports educating, developing and nurturing home-grown talent. By accrediting high quality video game courses and working closely with universities, TIGA ensures that UK graduates have the right skills and can enjoy long careers in the industry. See: http://tiga.org/news/tiga-reveals-17-of-the-best-university-games-courses
The UK video games industry has a long track record of investing in skills. TIGA published research in January 2016, which showed that 80 per cent of games businesses provide on the job training. Meanwhile, 38 per cent provide formal training courses, both in-house and external.
Dr Richard Wilson, CEO of TIGA, said:
“TIGA’s ambition is to strengthen the UK video games industry. Our video games industry is already a world leader. The competitiveness of our industry is enhanced by the ability to recruit the best and brightest talent – wherever they are from. TIGA and the video games industry will continue to work to develop the skills of the UK workforce but we urge the Government to keep the UK open to skilled talent. Skilled workers from overseas can reduce skill shortages, enhance the skills of existing workers and stimulate job creation.”