Applications for the UK’s Global Tech Talent visa increased by 48% over the past year according to Tech Nation.

The Global Talent Visa allows overseas workers who are “leaders or potential leaders” in their industry to work in the UK’s digital technology sector, academia or research and arts and culture. With the UK tech sector facing a growing skills gap, this is a key way of accessing tech talent in sectors such as artificial intelligence and cybersecurity.

On Thursday UK tech network Tech Nation published its 2020 Tech Nation visa report, exploring the international talent landscape and the role of global talent visas in attracting workers to the UK.

Since November 2018, the Tech Nation Global Talent Visa has received 1,975 applications and has granted 920 visas to individuals from over 50 countries worldwide.

The number of visa applications has increased substantially since 2018, with growth of 45% and 48% in the past two consecutive years.

Due to the UK’s exit from the European Union, demand for Global Talent visas is expected to increase in 2021 as the Brexit transition period comes to an end and EU citizens no longer have freedom of movement within the UK.

This increase was also backed up by internet search data from SEMrush, which showed that there has been a 200% increase in the number of internet users in the UK searching for terms related to UK tech visas between April and September 2020. In the US and India, there was a 100% rise in users searching for these terms.

Tech Nation also revealed the sectors most common for visa holders, with app and software development, AI and machine learning, and fintech coming out on top. The countries with the highest number of endorsed applications came from India, the US and Nigeria.

Stephen Kelly, chair of Tech Nation, said:

“The UK is a global talent magnet for Tech founders. The UK provides rich opportunities for entrepreneurs to set up, flourish and scale a business. The Global Talent Visa is crucial to making this process easy and accessible.

“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.”


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