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UK tech visa applications soar ahead of Brexit deadline

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(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/everything possible)

One might think that Brexit would discourage international tech pros from coming to work in the UK, but the reality is quite the opposite.

New figures have shown that applications for the Tech Nation visa grew 48 percent this year, following a successful 2019, in which application volumes rose by 45 percent. All in all, almost 2,000 applications were submitted over the last two years, according to City AM.

The visa allows foreign nationals to work in the UK for five years and the volume of applications is expected to continue on its growth trajectory, even after the UK concludes Brexit negotiations - mostly because it will mean EU-based tech pros will need to apply too. To date, most applicants have hailed from the United States, India or Nigeria.

Of this year’s applicants, approximately half are now working at one of the UK’s leading tech firms, while a quarter have founded their own ventures. The majority (59 percent) are working in London, primarily on app and software development, artificial intelligence and financial technologies.

“The UK is a global talent magnet for tech founders,” said Tech Nation chair Stephen Kelly. “The UK provides rich opportunities for entrepreneurs to set up, flourish and scale a business.

“Tech Nation’s Visa Report shows that, despite the pandemic, international interest to work in the UK tech sector has never been higher. Attracting tomorrow’s tech leaders to the UK is crucial to the continued growth of the sector, the UK’s place in the world, and driving the nation through recovery to growth in the digital age.”