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Tech Nation has announced that it will cease operations on 31 March 2023 following the termination of its core government grant funding. Tech Nation is an organisation that served the UK scale-up tech ecosystem by, among other things, acting as an endorsing body for Global Talent Visas for the Home Office. This visa category is a useful way for skilled migrants to come to the UK and, as it does not require sponsorship by an employer, they can set up their own businesses.
Tech Nation has claimed that “Scaleups create over 90% of all UK tech jobs” and “while 80% of startups fail within their first 2-5 years, over 95% of startups on Tech Nation’s accelerator programs have gone on to scale”. While there are a number of different endorsing bodies covering a range of industries, Tech Nation was undoubtedly a key player in the tech sector. Many of UK’s successful tech companies such as Deliveroo, Skyscanner and Monzo have benefited from one or more of Tech Nation’s programmes.
In September 2022 the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport awarded a £12 million grant to Barclays Bank instead. Tech Nation has initiated TUPE discussions with Barclays Bank and the visa programme will continue “in the immediate term”. This will leave migrants that are currently working through the endorsement process in limbo and there will be uncertainty as to whether they will receive decisions prior to Tech Nation closing in March.
It is unclear what the next steps are for the Global Talent Visa route in the tech sector. The Government has announced ambitions to be a science and technology superpower. This makes the removal of Tech Nation’s funding surprising. The tech sector will be hoping that new programmes will emerge such as Barclay’s Eagle Labs.
This article has been produced for general information purposes and further advice should be sought from a professional advisor. Please contact our Business Immigration Law team at Cleaver Fulton Rankin for further advice or information.