Rishi Sunak plans new Tech Visas to boost UK fintech: Report

London, Feb 21 (PTI) Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is planning to lay out details of new fast-track “Tech Visas” in his Budget statement next month as part of efforts to boost the UK’s financial technology industry, according to a UK media report.

The senior Cabinet minister has drawn up details for the scheme to attract global talent to UK start-ups and its GBP 7-billion fintech sector, proposals which are said to have the backing of his boss — UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

The Daily Telegraph’ quoted Whitehall sources with knowledge of the plans to say that the new visas are likely to be approved by Tech Nation, Britain’s national network representing tech entrepreneurs.

The final details are still being drawn up, but insiders expect it will be similar to the Global Talent Visa announced last year to attract the world’s leading scientists to Britain, the newspaper claims.

The Global Talent Visa is part of Britain’s new post-Brexit points-based system for visas and immigration, dubbed as levelling the field for migrants from within the European Union (EU) and beyond, including countries such as India.

While the EU and non-EU citizens wanting to live and work in the UK following Britain’s exit from the economic bloc must meet a similar specific set of requirements and points under the new system, the Global Talent Visa contains no cap on numbers for people who are suitably qualified.

Sunak is said to be keen to maintain the UK’s status as a global hub for fintech and to overcome any challenges as a result of Brexit because such firms are often heavily reliant on European talent.

With the Budget in March due to be dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the newspaper notes that Sunak is also expected to rollover many of the support schemes due to expire at the end of March while lockdown restrictions are gradually lifted.

Senior business leaders expect him to announce a six-month extension of the furlough or job retention scheme, before gradually phasing it out later in the year. Treasury insiders are also referenced as having signalled that any major tax rises are likely to be delayed until later in the year.