Tech City UK, a taxpayer-funded government organization, has received just 37 applications since April 2015 for a dedicated technology visa that can be given out to 200 people.
Justin Fitzpatrick, COO of London startup DueDil, which allows companies to do financial background checks (due diligence) on other companies, said he often has to hire data scientists from outside the EU. He is aware of the Tier 1 visa but so far he’s also relied on on the Tier 2 visa, which does not fall under Tech City UK’s remit.
“Some of the immigration procedures, such as the resident market labour test, have felt a bit like box ticking, and the only tangible outcome for us has been that these delay hiring,” he said.
“I’m not sure that companies are fully aware of all the various ways they can sponsor [non-EU tech workers],” continued Fitzpatrick. “The process for talented people who are already working in the UK to stay here should be easier.”
Another startup CEO, who wished to remain anonymous, confirmed Fitzpatrick’s claim, saying no one uses Tech City UK’s visa scheme because “people don’t know anything about it.”