Three-quarters of tech entrepreneurs say Conservative proposals will restrict access to talent and that the current immigration system is insufficient. The tech sector is overwhelmingly in favour of the introduction of a Third Party Visa Sponsorship programme.

It's been a common theme here, immigration is good for the economy, and it's certainly good for supporting an entrepreneurial climate.

Now Tech London Advocates, an independent network of nearly 5,000 tech experts, leaders and professionals in the capital, has released a report casting doubt on the tech sector’s continued success. It finds that 74 per cent of tech professionals in London believe that policies outlined in the Conservative manifesto, if implemented, will restrict access to talent in the UK tech sector.

56 per cent of tech professionals believe the current immigration policy does not permit world-class talent to enter the UK. Meanwhile, only 30 per cent of respondents stated that the current immigration is sufficient to provide companies with top international talent.

72 per cent expressed support for the introduction of a Third Party Sponsorship Visa programme. A Third Party Visa solution, as advocated by the TLA Immigration Working Group, would allow Tier 2 applicants (skilled migrants) to be sponsored by accelerators, incubators and VCs on behalf of tech companies. 22 per cent of those surveyed would not consider using a Third Party Sponsorship Visa if it was made available.

To demonstrate the importance of allowing fast-growth tech companies to access world-class talent, 80 per cent of tech startups in London hired overseas workers within their first five employees.

Tech London Advocates has released the survey data to coincide with the beginning of London Tech Week, Europe’s largest technology festival. The week will see hundreds of events take place across the city, drawing tech innovators and influencers from across Europe to London. Tech London Advocates is one of three Founding Partners for the week.

Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates and Global Tech Advocates, comments, “Access to global talent is a top priority for tech companies, and these results confirm that firms are want a government that can establish an immigration and visa policy to meet this pressing need. With Brexit negotiations set to begin, we need a government that creates the right conditions for tech companies to grow, ensuring that they can access international talent to bridge the skills gap and provide world-leading insights and knowledge. London Tech Week is an opportunity to send a clear message to the international tech community – London is open and welcomes the world’s best tech talent.”

For more on immigration, the economy and entrepreneurs, see:

Cutting immigration to the tens of thousands will devastate the economyThe end of austerity – and the un-costed immigration cap

Immigration to UK falls