Start-up visas introduced
for foreign entrepreneurs
June 19, 2018
The Home Office will launch a new start-up visa next Spring to make it easier for foreign entrepreneurs to come to the UK.
Previously, the criteria for entry included a university education, but now a change has been made to welcome those without a degree, in the hope that it will attract ‘the best talent’ and ‘make the visa process faster and smoother.’
The Home Office confirmed that in the 12 months to March 2018, only 839 out of a designated 2,000 places were taken up on the existing scheme. While that limit will remain, the applications granted under the new scheme will not count towards that annual cap, the Home Office added.
The Prime Minister made the statement as part of June’s London Tech Week. She also announced that small businesses will be given free access to the Ordnance Survey’s mapping data, and the news that there is to be a £2.5bn fund to provide investment in new UK tech firms, with private companies pledging a further £2.3bn.
Theresa May said:
‘There are exciting tech opportunities here in the United Kingdom. Britain as a place to do tech business is being enthusiastically championed. We have continually shown the advantages that the UK has for the tech sector.’
The UK has the largest amount of STEM (science, tech, engineering and maths) graduates in Europe, and Imperial College London is in the top 10 universities in the world. There are more software developers in the capital, particularly around the ‘silicon roundabout’ from Old Street to Shoreditch, than in any other European city, and in San Francisco and New York combined.
Microsoft and Facebook opened new offices in London last year, allaying fears that the UK’s global reputation for tech excellence would be undermined by uncertainty over Brexit.
Google is also building a ‘groundscraper’ HQ, which will be longer than the Shard is high, including a rooftop garden, in the Kings Cross complex. It is estimated to be completed between 2020 and 2024.
Image credit: Stephen McKay/Old Street Roundabout