The UK Government has decided to increase the number of visas available through the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route from 1,000 to 2,000 a year.
Home Office said the move was part of the government’s ongoing commitment to welcome talented people from across the globe, and in recognition of the importance of these innovative industries to the UK.
“I am delighted that we are able to welcome more talented people from across the world to our country. Increasing the number of visas for these sectors will make sure that we continue to be at the heart of world culture and forefront of digital and scientific advances,” Home Secretary Amber Rudd said. “The UK’s innovative industries, including the thriving digital technology sector, are at the centre of our industrial strategy and making sure that businesses in these fields have access to exceptional talent from across the world is vitally important. That is why I will be meeting with technology experts to seek their input on making sure that our visa processes are as efficient as possible.”
The 2,000 visas will be made available to individuals who are recognised as existing global leaders or promising future leaders in the digital technology, science, arts and creative sectors by 1 of 5 UK endorsing organisations: Tech City UK; Arts Council England; The British Academy; The Royal Society; and The Royal Academy of Engineering.
The current allocations of the 1,000 visas – which are split between the five endorsing organisations – will remain and the additional places will be made available across all of the endorsing bodies dependent on need.
Matt Clifford MBE, Co-founder and CEO of Entrepreneur First commended the Home Office’s decision to increase the number of Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visas. “We cannot ignore the fact that our digital and tech economy cannot survive on home-grown talent alone and is substantially boosted by exceptional foreign individuals who have chosen to build their businesses in the UK,” Mr Clifford said. “If London is to continue being the European hub for tech, and if it is to grow to rival other internationally significant tech centres, we must ensure the UK becomes an increasingly welcoming hub for EU and non-EU nationals alike.”