25 August 2022

Scale-up visa opens the world to rising stars of tech

The phrase “the war for talent” is less often heard this year, perhaps understandably (and rightly) given there is a real war going on in Europe. Nonetheless, the use of such metaphors to describe recurring business issues is unlikely to stop any day soon and there is no doubt that in the world of recruitment there are daily battles to be won. The skills shortage that afflicts IT and other industries is real and unrelenting. And given the dire economic outlook, any sensible idea that helps address this is therefore a good thing…

Government is invariably on the receiving end of endless, often deserved, criticism. Yet in this instance, we should applaud a fresh initiative that might help address some of the problems that rapidly expanding companies have in sourcing and employing new talent. The announcement earlier this week from the Home Office that “UK businesses experiencing impressive success will be eligible to sponsor talented individuals, from scientists and engineers to architects and programmers, to support their growth and contribute to boosting the UK’s economy” is very welcome and at Be-IT we wholeheartedly support this endeavour.

Essentially, companies (including small businesses and those in the tech and financial services sectors) that have achieved growth of 20% or more in either employment or turnover year-on-year for at least three years and employed a minimum of 10 people at the start of the three years will now be eligible to sponsor talented individuals through what is being called the Scale-up visa.

Unlike other sponsored visas, the Scale-up visa will allow businesses to employ highly skilled individuals who will then receive two years’ leave to remain in the country without requiring further sponsorship or permission beyond the first six months. Eligible firms will be able to attract highly skilled talent, including, amongst others: scientists; engineers; programmers; software developers; and R&D professionals.

This is all part of the government’s drive to widen the pool of countries from which immigrants come to work in the UK, based on the new, points-based immigration system. Certainly, the composition of the immigrant population of the UK is changing. According to the ONS, and contrary to what some expected, the number of foreign-born workers in the UK is actually greater now than it was pre-Brexit (it’s 6.3 million – a record high – equivalent to 19% of all workers – a percentage that is higher even than the USA). While the number of EU-born workers has decreased slightly, this has been more than offset by the rise in the numbers from elsewhere, with particular increases being noted from India, Nigeria and South Africa. And although the government’s announcement of the introduction of this scheme doubtless has a political dimension, at Be-IT we are principally interested in how well it works. In theory, the Scale-up visa will give rapidly growing companies greater flexibility to hire in-demand, talent so they can, as a result, grow further and faster. If it’s successful then it will have the concomitant effect of improving the diversity of the tech workforce – another goal that Be-IT very much supports. As always, we shall be delighted to work with any employer who needs help in recruiting overseas talent and increasing the diversity of their workforce, whether through the Scale-up visa or via any other channels

Nikola Kelly
Be-IT Resourcing and Be-IT Projects

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