Chancellor reveals fast-track visa for highly skilled workers in boost to fintech sector

Chancellor Rishi Sunak (Yui Mok/PA)
Chancellor Rishi Sunak (Yui Mok/PA) (PA Wire)
17:56pm, Fri 26 Feb 2021
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The Chancellor is set to announce a fast-track visa for highly skilled migrants in the Budget next week, as the UK tries to attract staff for rapidly growing new companies.

Rishi Sunak hopes that the new scheme will allow companies to take applications from the best potential employees around the world, a move the Treasury said would boost financial technology and cyber firms.

Skilled migrants with job offers with so-called scale-up companies, which are innovative and grow quickly, will qualify for fast-track visas without needing sponsorship or third party endorsement, the Treasury said.

“Now we’ve left the EU and taken back control of our borders, we want to make sure our immigration system helps businesses attract the best talent from around the world,” Mr Sunak said.

“This new fast-track scale-up stream will make it easier for fintech firms to recruit innovators and job creators, who will help them grow.”

The scheme will open in March next year, and the Government will set out more details this July.

The move is largely targeted at financial technology, or fintech, companies, such as Monzo and OakNorth, which contribute £11 billion to the UK economy every year.

The country has a 10% share of the global fintech market, and attracts more fintech investment than the next four European countries combined.

Around 42% of the UK’s 76,500 fintech workers come from overseas, an independent report released this week found.

It argued that UK firms must be able to hire talented staff from around the world in order to be globally competitive.

The Government should introduce a new way that staff can immigrate to the UK and reduce bureaucracy, or risk putting off international applicants, the report said.

“Enhancing the UK’s fintech capabilities is an important part of the Chancellor’s plan to make the UK the most open and dynamic place in the world to operate a financial services firm, with more advanced technology delivering better outcomes for people and businesses,” a statement from the Treasury said.

Scale up companies have annual growth of at least 20% over three years, with at least 10 employees at the beginning.

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