UK announces new type of visa for highly qualified immigrants
In December 2013 the UK Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that UK will issue a new visa route for IT Workers, who want to come and work in the country. In April 2014 he said that the old Tier 1 (exceptional talent stream) will be altered so that it serves the needs of IT workers, searching for a job in the UK.
At the same time, it has been also announced that the cap for the new type of visa will be – 200 people per year, which means that it will be extremely difficult for the candidates to qualify. In comparison, only seven people were able to qualify for Exceptional Talent visas in 2011. The Tier 1 visa allows highly talented foreigners to enter the UK and work there provided that they have endorsement from a Designated Competent Body (DCB).
It is not required that they have a job offer before they enter the country. Until now, there have been only four DCBs; The British Academy, The Royal Society, The Royal Academy of Engineering and Arts Council England. Each of these was allowed to endorse the applications of either 200 or 300 people each year. In practice, however, the number of endorsements was much lower since only a small number of applicants met the necessary requirements.
Currently, the government has assigned one more DCB – the TechCity, an organization that was founded by the government in order to support the IT business in London. Despite the new changes the Tier 1 category of visa will still be very restrictive. It will be suitable only for a small number of highly trained tech entrepreneurs, who want to move their existing business to the UK or start a new one.
This means that the new visa may not be the best choice for the sector until additional changes to the scheme are implemented.
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