UK government set to launch post-Brexit fintech visas

By Joanna England
The fintech visa scheme has been created to attract industry experts to the UK to fill gaps in the market...

The UK government is launching a new scheme that provides visas to fintech experts following industry restrictions as a result of Brexit.

Reports suggest the scheme will be very similar to the currently existing Global Talent visa, which was developed in partnership with the industry body Tech Nation - the UK’s startup network for technology entrepreneurs.

The move, which aims to fill the gaps in the workforce in the financial technology sector, was created due to a loss of skills from the EU following the UK’s departure from the European bloc at the end of January 2020.

Brexit resulted in the rights of EU professionals to work in the UK being automatically removed. Many European nationals also returned to the EU following Britain’s exit from the trade collaboration.

UK leads fintech in Europe

The UK fintech sector is a booming industry, and is only second to the US globally in terms of growth and development. 

In 2020, the UK dominated European investment, managing a total of 408 deals accounting for just under half of the total $9.3bn invested in the whole of Europe. Britain’s financial sector also handled more invested capital than France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Germany combined.

However, the global fintech market is becoming increasingly competitive, with hotspots developing in Germany, Spain and Holland. These areas are attractive to experts who would ordinarily find work in the UK.

Some reports by leading industry think tanks also suggest the UK’s fintech market could be damaged by Brexit due to the anti-braindrain incentives being offered to EU workers. 

According to reports, UK chancellor, Rishi Sunak looks set to officially announce the plan within days as the decision to create the scheme will ensure the fintech market retains the talent it requires to continue growing.

Speaking about the move, Ricky Knox, CEO at digital challenger bank Tandem, said, “Tech visas are a great thing and essential if we are going to keep a competitive tech and fintech sector,” he added. “Over half of our coders are from outside the UK and some have already left due to Brexit.”

CEO at cross-border money transfer fintech Azimo, Michael Kent, pointed out that industry leaders have been lobbying for such a move. “I haven’t seen the details, but it is good that the UK government is taking this seriously. Fintech is all about people,” he said.

Meanwhile, Shawn Tan, CEO of Skymind, said the visa news was a positive step towards securing the UK’s fintech workforce. “As an international company that has recently set up its operations in London, we want to make sure that we can hire the talent we need,” he said.

Shawn added, “Combining these factors with a steady pipeline of highly skilled workers will keep the fintech sector thriving for years to come.”


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