UK to introduce new ‘tech visa’ for highly skilled IT workers

David Cameron recently announced that the UK government will introduce a new ‘tech visa’ in April 2014 in an attempt to attract the best international IT talent to the UK’s digital sector. This will not be a new visa per se, but will comprise part of the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa.

photo credit: gagilas via photopin cc

David Cameron is eager to develop the UK’s digital sector into a hub of global IT expertise. photo credit: gagilas via photopin cc

In order to qualify, applicants must be internationally recognised and considered to be leading talents in their field. They must also be endorsed by a Designated Competent Body (DCB). There are currently four of these DCBs:

  • The Royal Society
  • Arts Council England
  • The British Academy
  • The Royal Academy of Engineering
  • The Prime Minister also plans to introduce a fifth DCB, largely believed to be the Tech City Investment Organisation. 

Funding of up to £12.5m for research and development will be used to boost digital and computing technologies across the UK. At least three new pots of cash worth £1m each have also been set aside to encourage specialist digital clusters in Wales and the north-east.

How long you can stay?

  • On a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa, you may stay in the UK for three years and four months if you applied from outside the UK.
  • If you switch to a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa from inside the UK, you may stay for three years. You may also extend a Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa for a maximum of two years.

On this visa you may do voluntary work, travel abroad and return to the UK and bring family members with you.

For any information or advice on UK visa options, visit 1st Contact Visas.

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