UK Government pledges to double international workers in creative and tech sectors

The Home Office says it will take 2,000 “talent” workers from overseas annually starting in 2018, but has placed greater emphasis on digital tech than art and culture.

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Double the amount of international people employed in creative and technology sectors will now be able to work in the UK, according to the Government’s latest visa reforms – but more visas will go to the digital tech industry rather than art and culture.

2,000 international workers per year

The Home Office announced this week it would double the number of visas for international workers in “talent” sectors from 1,000 to 2,000 people per year.

Increasing the number of visas given to international workers aims to “welcome more talented people from across the world” to the UK, and ensure the UK stays at “the heart of world culture and forefront of digital and scientific advances”, says home secretary Amber Rudd.

This includes “digital tech, science, arts and creative” sectors, according to the Home Office. The work visas will be assigned to five industry bodies, which are Tech City UK, Arts Council England, The British Academy, The Royal Society and The Royal Academy of Engineering.

Visas assigned to sectors with “greatest need”

These organisations will then distribute them to individuals they deem to be “existing global leaders” or “promising future leaders” of their industries.

1,000 visas will continue to be split between the five bodies equally, but the additional 1,000 visas will now be assigned to those with the “greatest need”, says a Home Office spokesperson.

More visas are expected to be given to individuals working in digital tech than other sectors, the spokesperson says, with Tech City UK expected to receive the most.

Industrial strategy emphasis on tech

Prime minister Theresa May says: “Technology is at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy, and we will continue to invest in the best new innovations and ideas, in the brightest and best talent, and in revolutionary digital infrastructure.

“And as we prepare to leave the European Union, I am clear that Britain will remain open for business. That means Government doing all it can to secure a strong future for our thriving tech sector and ensure people in all corners of our nation share in the benefits of its success.”

May revealed her Industrial Strategy in January this year, which mentioned the creative sector but placed more emphasis on scientific research and development, and STEM (science, tech, engineering and maths) subjects.

Since the Brexit vote in 2016, the creative and tech industries have expressed concerns over potential loss of EU and international talent when the UK eventually leaves the EU in March 2019.

The new visa allowance is due to come into place in 2018. It applies to non-EU international workers only.

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  • Dave W November 21, 2017 at 10:43 pm

    Ridiculous!!! We have enough home-grown talent already. Jobs are already hard to come by.

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