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Ward Hadaway Advises Growing Fintech Sector on Exceptional Talent Visa Scheme

By Flora Mewies, Employment and Immigration Solicitor at Ward Hadaway, for The Fintech Times.

Law firm Ward Hadaway is continuing to play its part in helping to bring some of the world’s most talented tech sector people to Fintech companies across the North of England and further afield.

The Top 100 UK law firm, which has offices in Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester, is working with regional technology organisation Tech Nation on the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa scheme.

The scheme aims to make it possible for tech talent from around the world to come and work in the UK’s digital technology sector.

Flora Mewies, an Associate in the Employment team at Ward Hadaway in Leeds, said: “Technology has always played a key role in the financial sector in ways that people might not have realised which has in turn spurred on innovation and you could even say an evolution.

“The world of E-commerce is all around us and as a result, we now have a financial technology infrastructure which most people use daily. More than 42% of digitally active adults now use the services of at least one Fintech firm and more than 20 million people in the UK make use of banking apps.

“Fintech North Leeds has the biggest Fintech presence outside of London with several hubs, including Future Labs, Duke Studios, Platform, Workspace Hub and University Business Centre, and the sector is growing all the time.

“Ward Hadaway recognises this and is an active supporter of Fintech North events. The Fintech North Leeds conference has recently taken place as part of the Leeds Digital Festival. It attracted more than 300 people from banks, building societies, start-ups, technology firms, investors, advisers and academia.

“We recognise that tech sector skills are a scarce commodity across the country and we are seeing both banking and Fintech doing their best to acquire those skills.”

According to figures issued in a recent survey by Tech City UK, more than 50% of businesses highlighted a shortage of highly-skilled employees and nearly 25% described sourcing talent as a major challenge.

Tech Nation, the organisation which champions the digital sector and growth of digital businesses in the North of England, has the ability to endorse applications for the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa.

Currently this allows up to 200 exceptionally talented individuals in the digital technology field to come and work or set up businesses in the UK every year.

This has now been extended (from April 2018) so that there are an additional 1,000 endorsements available each year for the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa, albeit these will be issued to the relevant endorsing body across six sectors, on a first-come first-served basis.

Ward Hadaway has been an official legal partner for the Tech Nation Visa Scheme since 2015.

Immigration experts at Ward Hadaway provide legal support for companies across the North who are looking to employ world leaders or rising stars in the tech industry, and those individuals thinking of applying for a visa to work in the UK tech industry.

Flora added: “The Government is engaging with Fintech firms to discuss how the UK can continue to attract the best international talent, including what they are looking for from a future immigration system.

“We have been working with Tech Nation as sole immigration advisors for the North and were pleased to raise further awareness of the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa and continue to provide support to applicants and employers.

“We have recently successfully obtained visas in the Fintech sector, examples of which include a technology partner and delivery lead and a senior technical consultant.

“Many of the companies in the sector are leading the world in their respective fields which means that, whilst the vast Newcastle | Leeds | Manchester Experts in business immigration advice majority of jobs they create will be home-grown, having access to exceptionally talented people across the globe can help them to get even further ahead of their competitors.

“The Tech Nation Visa Scheme aims to help them do exactly that, ensuring that the economy benefits from exceptionally talented individuals from overseas whilst keeping in line with Government immigration targets and policy.

“We are delighted to be involved in the scheme, to be working with Tech Nation, tech companies and the highly talented individuals across the North to ensure the region benefits from a world of expertise, as the countdown to Brexit continues.”

Ward Hadaway continues to advise a number of companies including many of those in the Fintech space looking to recruit and/or retain staff on the options available to them for recruiting outside the EEA. It has also helped many talented tech people secure their endorsements and visas to work in the UK tech sector.

Ward Hadaway has hosted a number of Tech Nation events this year designed to raise awareness of the scheme and of visa requirements in general.

The events have focused on the experiences of those who have come through the scheme and provided an opportunity for local businesses, entrepreneurs and organisations to ask questions and learn more about hiring talent from overseas to fill their vacant tech roles.

Flora added: “It’s extremely important to invest both time and effort in the preparation of the application in order to highlight key skills and achievements. Applicants need to be endorsed by Tech Nation as having either exceptional promise or exceptional talent in the field of digital technology

“This is where we can assist as experts who have prepared numerous applications and successfully helped candidates obtain their visa, bring their dependants to the UK and ultimately apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK and settle here permanently.”

For more information on the issues raised by this article, please contact Flora Mewies at [email protected] or on 0113 205 6797.


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