Maximising the UK’s Immigration System for Tech Recruitment: An Essential Guide for Businesses

In the fast-evolving landscape of the UK tech sector, leveraging the immigration system to attract top talent is more crucial than ever.

With significant changes on the horizon and new compliance requirements coming into effect, understanding how to navigate these waters can be the key to securing top talent and achieving your business objectives.

The Importance of Skilled Worker Visa

Recent data underscores the tech industry’s continued reliance on skilled international workers. With 5% of all Skilled Worker visas issued for IT roles and top tech occupations ranking within the most sponsored jobs in the UK, the impact of the UK’s immigration policies on the sector cannot be underestimated. Navigating this complicated area is a challenge for all businesses. Many of our clients initially feel bewildered by the legal requirements associated with recruiting international staff. SMEs in particular may find it more difficult to meet the compliance and financial requirements.

Navigating Changes and Challenges

The landscape of tech recruitment is undoubtedly heavily influenced by alterations in immigration policy. Recently, the changes to the eligibility criteria for Skilled Worker sponsorship have posed additional hurdles for tech businesses to overcome. This includes the double whammy of the increase to salary eligibility thresholds coupled with the removal of tech roles from the Immigration Salary list . This change means that companies are likely to be subject to the full impact of the increased salary thresholds (as they may no longer benefit from key discounts to the salary levels to fill these roles), making it more challenging to meet the relevant criteria and ultimately secure the necessary visas for prospective employees. Moreover, the cost of visa applications has also increased year on year which has further impacted inbound immigration to the UK.

As the UK continues to adjust its immigration policies, businesses must strategically plan their financial resources and talent acquisition strategy to accommodate these changes.

Exploring Alternative Pathways

Beyond the standard Skilled Worker route, we are finding businesses are increasingly turning to alternative visa pathways to see whether these might provide a solution to their recruitment needs. Depending on their circumstances, they may find that other routes are viable options for enabling key talented individuals to come to work or remain working in the UK for their business (even if only on a temporary basis), such as the Global talent route, Graduate visa route, High Potential Individual route, and the Innovator Founder option. Each of these have different eligibility criteria and have different advantages (and disadvantages) when it comes to viability for attracting and retaining exceptional talent.

Want to know more?

Our seminar on “Maximising the UK’s Immigration System in Tech Recruitment” scheduled for 17 June in Newcastle, will equip business leaders and start-ups with critical knowledge and tools to navigate these complexities. Join us to ensure your business is well-prepared to leverage the full potential of the UK’s immigration system. We will be discussing:

  • Overview of the key immigration routes available for tech businesses.
  • Strategic Responses to Policy Changes, ensuring you adjust your recruitment strategies to align with the new requirements of the immigration system.
  • Financial Planning for Increased Costs, discussing the costs associated with sponsorship and visa applications, and exploring financial strategies to manage these expenses without compromising on talent acquisition.
  • Maintaining Compliance, helping you to understand the crucial aspects of compliance with the updated immigration rules and how to streamline these processes within your organisation



by Laura Darnley | Partner | Employment – Ward Hadaway

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