IT roles and immigration

2nd September 2021

The UK has long been experiencing a shortage of talent within the IT sector. According to a recent survey conducted by ‘Solving the UK Skills Shortage – Technology’, over 70% of technology employers are experiencing skills shortages. This has been further impacted by Brexit. The survey concluded that a whopping 89% of professionals believe that the UK technology industry is not prepared to compete on a global scale.

The lack of home-grown talent within the IT sector has forced companies to look overseas to recruit for IT positions and UK Immigration Visas & Immigration (UKVI) has special provisions in place for migrants being recruited to work in this field. The aim is to attract global talent to fill these roles to ensure the UK remains competitive.

Migrants wanting to come to the UK to work within the IT sector will need to secure a visa permitting them to do so and the relevant immigration options available to them are as follows:

Apply for a skilled worker visa

Provided the company holds a sponsor licence, it can sponsor migrants to come to the UK for work purposes within IT.

UKVI has deemed IT roles as ‘shortage occupation’ roles. This means companies pay lower visa fees and migrants do not need to meet the minimum ‘going rate’ for their job role; instead they may be paid 80% of the ‘going rate’. This is an attractive proposition for companies as the visa fees can be substantial and prohibitive, especially for start-ups. It is also welcome news for migrants who may fall short of meeting the salary requirements.

Apply for a Global Talent visa

Migrants who are classed as leaders or potential leaders in digital technology, for example in:

• financial technology (‘fintech’)
• gaming
• cyber security
• artificial intelligence

can apply for a global talent visa.

To qualify, migrants will need to have either secured an endorsement from Tech Nation (a government approved endorsing body) or be the recipient of an eligible award.

We are fully conversant with the immigration requirements for both categories and have assisted a number of companies and migrants with their visa applications and are happy to talk through the full eligibility criteria.

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