Government outlines offer to tech entrepreneurs

The Government has outlined how it is trying to attract skilled technology entrepreneurs seeking to work in the United Kingdom.

Caroline Nokes MP, Minister of State for Immigration, stated that non-EU and EEA migrants can apply under a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa route if they can demonstrate a credible business plan and have £50,000 funding to invest in their business from a specified source, or £200,000 from any source.

She added that migrants who have studied in the UK have the option of applying for the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa. This route requires applicants to be endorsed by a Higher Education Institution but does not require any minimum investment funds and allows applications to work part time to support themselves as they develop their business.

The UK also offers the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa. This is for skilled individuals who are at the very top of their profession and can demonstrate exceptional skills or potential. In January 2018, the Government doubled the number of exceptional talent visas available each year to 2000 places.

Dr Richard Wilson OBE, Chief Executive Officer of TIGA, said:

“TIGA supports the pathways open for foreign workers, including entrepreneurs and highly skilled individuals.

“However, it is also important to ensure that the UK games industry can continue to recruit highly skilled EU or EEA workers after Brexit. 15 per cent of our industry’s current workforce comes from the EU or EEA.

“The vast majority of games studios are small businesses who need to be able to hire highly skilled workers with the minimum of red tape and cost.”

Please see the full written answer below:

ICT: Skilled Workers

Home Office

Adam Afriyie (Windsor) (Con): To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what progress her Department has made on enabling skilled technology entrepreneurs to enter and work in the UK.

Caroline Nokes: The UK has a comprehensive offer for skilled technology entrepreneurs seeking to work in the United Kingdom.

Migrants wishing to establish, set up or take over a business in the UK may apply under our Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa route if they can demonstrate a credible business plan and have £50,000 funding to invest in their business from a specified source, or £200,000 from any source.

For migrants who have studied at UK universities and now wish to set up their own technology business, the Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visa route is also available. This route requires applicants to be endorsed by a Higher Education Institution but does not require any minimum investment funds and allows applications to work part time to support themselves as they develop their business. The independent Migration Advisory Committee’s review of the route in 2015, concluded that the Graduate Entrepreneur scheme works well; it has limited numbers and attracts high quality people. The Government is currently considering the MAC’s wider recommendations from that review.

For skilled technology entrepreneurs who are at the very top of their profession that can demonstrate exceptional skills or potential the UK also maintains an exceptional talent route. The Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route has 5 endorsing bodies of which Tech City provides endorsement for those in the digital technology sector. On 11 January 2018, we doubled the number of exceptional talent places available each year to 2000 places, recognising the contribution that these highly skilled migrants make to the UK. Exceptional talent visas do not require applicants to have a sponsoring employer and thus represents an attractive offer to the very best potential technology entrepreneurs.