Innovation in tech will undoubtedly play a major role in coming years in the economy of the United Kingdom, with significant growth in virtual reality technology and the normalization of artificial intelligence, tech is shaping our reality and every country wants to be the front runner.
But it’s not going to be easy. Venture capitalists may be investing more than a billion pounds in the tech sector in the capital but the rest of Europe is still ready to compete for the top talent globally.
French President Emmanuel Macron recently announced his vision for a French Silicon Valley, positioning France as a start-up nation. France’s government is creating a new simplified tech visa to attract gifted international STEM graduates it now brings into question where the UK stands with upcoming tech issues.
The UK has always been attractive for corporate expansion, with Facebook, Google, and Snapchat all setting up their European headquarters in London. There has also been a significant rise in the number of tier-2 visa applications, with skilled workers entering the country sponsored by the business they are working with as companies in and outside the capital look to stay ahead of the curve by employing the best foreign ability.
However, it’s impossible to ignore that current political and media rhetoric surrounding immigration, universities have noted a significant decrease in international student applications and foreign applications for jobs in UK tech have significantly decreased. The proverbial brain drain has seen foreign nationals put off coming to the UK despite investment up and down the country, in favor of the EU counterparts where employment opportunities are plentiful and visa processes are simplified.
And with over two-million STEM graduates in India and four million from China, UK companies ignoring foreign talent are going to be missing out on great employees, the benefits of diversity and will be seriously lagging behind their competitors.
The UK visa system can often feel mystifying with many companies not realizing that applying for a license to sponsor foreign workers can be completed in a matter of weeks. Moreover, with a specialist lawyer who can help navigate the red tape around dealing with the Home Office finding the right candidate regardless of their passport becomes exponentially quicker.
The effects of Brexit are already apparent in the sector, with Samsung choosing Berlin over London for its European headquarters it seems like our European counterparts are stepping up their game in the race to become the next Silicon Valley. The only way the UK will continue competing is to attract the best and the brightest from all over the world.
Katie Beech is a public relations representative for The Immigration Advice Services, expert immigration solicitors in the UK.