UK tech firms want immigration avenues to remain open

As British Prime Minister Theresa May prepares to unveil her 12-point plan for a successful Brexit, the UK technology industry has urged her to consider the need for skilled immigration.

“We need clarity on skilled migrants,” Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates, Told City A.M. “The challenge is to articulate that it’s good for the sector and the economy, it’s knowledge transfer, and has helped create London and the UK’s tech sector,” he added.

It is estimated that around a third of the UK’s technology workforce is made up of EU nationals – a labour pool that could become far more limited once the UK leaves the Union.

Tech City UK’s Gerard Grech is another who is adamant that the UK needs to remain open to skilled workers from the EU. Also speaking to City A.M, Grech said: “Access to talent is a critical issue for the UK’s tech community. “The government needs to make it easier, not harder to attract highly skilled talent, together with a national skills initiative that encourages home-grown talent to go into the sector.”

In October, Home Secretary Amber Rudd revealed plans to reduce immigration, including proposals to “tighten” the test for companies recruiting from abroad to encourage hiring of UK workers.

The announcement was met negatively by many British employers and industry groups – particularly those within the technology industry.

Prime Minister May is set to announce a number of her plans for Brexit in a speech later today, although whether the speech will deal directly with the country’s future immigration system is as yet unclear.

Article published 17th January 2017