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Maximising the UK’s Immigration System for Tech Recruitment: An Essential Guide for Businesses

In the fast-evolving landscape of the UK tech sector, leveraging the immigration system to attract top talent is more crucial than ever.

With significant changes on the horizon and new compliance requirements coming into effect, understanding how to navigate these waters can be the key to securing top talent and achieving your business objectives.

The Importance of Skilled Worker Visa

Recent data underscores the tech industry’s continued reliance on skilled international workers. With 5% of all Skilled Worker visas issued for IT roles and top tech occupations ranking within the most sponsored jobs in the UK, the impact of the UK’s immigration policies on the sector cannot be underestimated. Navigating this complicated area is a challenge for all businesses. Many of our clients initially feel bewildered by the legal requirements associated with recruiting international staff. SMEs in particular may find it more difficult to meet the compliance and financial requirements.

Navigating Changes and Challenges

The landscape of tech recruitment is undoubtedly heavily influenced by alterations in immigration policy. Recently, the changes to the eligibility criteria for Skilled Worker sponsorship have posed additional hurdles for tech businesses to overcome. This includes the double whammy of the increase to salary eligibility thresholds coupled with the removal of tech roles from the Immigration Salary list . This change means that companies are likely to be subject to the full impact of the increased salary thresholds (as they may no longer benefit from key discounts to the salary levels to fill these roles), making it more challenging to meet the relevant criteria and ultimately secure the necessary visas for prospective employees. Moreover, the cost of visa applications has also increased year on year which has further impacted inbound immigration to the UK.

As the UK continues to adjust its immigration policies, businesses must strategically plan their financial resources and talent acquisition strategy to accommodate these changes.

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Exploring Alternative Pathways

Beyond the standard Skilled Worker route, we are finding businesses are increasingly turning to alternative visa pathways to see whether these might provide a solution to their recruitment needs. Depending on their circumstances, they may find that other routes are viable options for enabling key talented individuals to come to work or remain working in the UK for their business (even if only on a temporary basis), such as the Global talent route, Graduate visa route, High Potential Individual route, and the Innovator Founder option. Each of these have different eligibility criteria and have different advantages (and disadvantages) when it comes to viability for attracting and retaining exceptional talent.

Get in touch

If you would like to know more about international recruitment in the UK tech sector, please do get in touch with our expert Immigration Lawyers.

Please note that this briefing is designed to be informative, not advisory and represents our understanding of English law and practice as at the date indicated. We would always recommend that you should seek specific guidance on any particular legal issue.

This page may contain links that direct you to third party websites. We have no control over and are not responsible for the content, use by you or availability of those third party websites, for any products or services you buy through those sites or for the treatment of any personal information you provide to the third party.

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