The tech sector, as is often the way, is pushing the boundaries when it comes to the current visa programmes in the UK. But currently their wishes are being ignored by the Conservative government. Keen to push immigration ever downward, Conservatives government have consistently held back progress in the sector with visa programmes that are not fit for purpose.
The government is keenly aware of skills gaps in the sector, and has been given many reports that show that the gaps exists and is increasing. This is felt especially keenly by SME's who are struggling to keep pace with the big tech companies. Currently there are issues around the amount of time and money required to bring skilled individuals in through the tier 2 visa route. Companies are struggling to work around the out of touch system, and these problems have been presented to the government. The independent Migration advisory committee has made recommendations to the government after fielding options from all around the tech sector. Though so far these reports have gleaned little in the way of progress.
This current gap in skills is only likely to increase once the full extent of Brexit is known. There seems to be a strong consensus that there will no longer be freedom of movement to the UK from other EU nations. This means that the government will need to implement new programmes in good time so that tech firms can ensure they keep up with demand. The UK has been a promising tech hub for sometime, but the current course that the government has taken appears to come at the detriment of the tech sector. Once the summer recess is over, the government need to make future migration a priority, especially as it will also form a large portion of the dealings with the EU during the Brexit talks.
The pressure from the tech firms on the government will only increase as other European centres such a Paris and Frankfurt rush to try and pick up any business that plans to leave the UK. The need for action now appears to be critical to avoid the UK falling too far behind its competitors.
The sector needs the government to be more flexible in its approach to immigration, and especially with skilled workers. These workers will earn larger than average wages, and will almost certainly pay more tax than the average citizen. This, coupled with the potential to create employment means that the UK needs to encourage entrepreneurial migration and allow wealth creators to come and do what they do best. In the long run the country will only benefit from this type of skilled migration.
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