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New UK Immigration Laws and Their Impact on the Tech Industry

The UK immigration landscape is bound to undergo many changes due to Brexit. Before, EU nationals were free to move and access employment in the UK. The same applies to businesses and start-ups that wanted to establish their headquarters on British soil. And one industry that will take the brunt of these changes is tech companies that mostly hire employees from other European countries.

What impact will immigration laws have on the tech industry?

The tech industry is an extensive field that covers many businesses. From small start-ups to large corporations that hire a massive workforce, all will be impacted by changes in immigration law. Although there will be no restriction to trade, the biggest concern is access to top talent. For many years, the UK has attracted talented tech specialists from around the EU and the world. As such, tech firms have also invested heavily in the UK.

The new business immigration law is quite complex and involves a points system similar to what’s used in Australia. And while there’s a positive outlook for a much lower salary cap, adapting to the new process could prove difficult for most businesses. With little time available to prepare, a lot could fall through the cracks and cause complications.

An overview of the proposed changes

Here’s a quick run-down of the supposed changes that will impact migrant employment to the UK.

1. EU nationals shouldn’t expect preferential treatment. One of the main goals of the immigration law changes is to avoid giving preferential treatment to EU nationals. If your business hires tech experts from anywhere around the EU, special arrangements will be discouraged in favour of a fairer process.

2. More businesses will require a sponsor licence. One significant effect of the change is that even skilled workers from around the EU will need to get a sponsor license from their employer.

3. The change will disrupt the migration of low-skilled workers. The proposed changes will prevent low-skilled workers from getting a job in the UK. This new policy is unfortunate for businesses that heavily rely on the influx of workers from around the EU.

While we’ve discussed earlier that tech companies won’t necessarily experience trade problems, the changes in immigration law could potentially discourage top talent. Also, there’s no assurance that the current workforce pool within the UK will be sufficient to fill the demand.

How do these changes impact businesses?

If a business needs a sponsor licence for a migrant employee, the cost is approximately £1,500. The sponsorship also involves a set of strict guidelines – the violation of which can result in sponsorship revocation. Unfortunately, losing the licence will also mean that the business can’t employ anyone from outside the UK. 

In addition to the added burden of applying and maintaining a sponsor licence for migrant employees, these changes also have a monetary impact. And while most would argue that the new immigration law will be easy for others and difficult for some, it’s undeniable that the tech industry will face issues once the changes are implemented. 

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