Comment on the need for, and potential legal impact of Scaleup, High Potential Individual, and Global Business Mobility visas

November 16, 2021
Vitoria Nabas


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Can the government help post-Brexit Britain be a genuine magnet for global business talent?

The end of free movement between the UK and EU has contributed to an acute skills shortage in the transport and logistics and food production sectors, with many foreign workers seemingly put off by the new global points-based immigration system.

But what about other key sectors such as science and technology where growth relies on access to the brightest and best talent from all over the world?

gunnercooke Immigration Partner Vitoria Nabas looks at the policy referred to by the Chancellor in the recent Budget:

“Scaleup, High Potential Individual, and Global Business Mobility visas are set to be launched in spring 2022 with the aim of attracting highly skilled people to the UK to work in science and technology.

“As a relatively small nation, the UK has always punched above its weight in these sectors, partly due to the innovation, cross-cultural learning, and competitiveness that comes with high skilled migration.

“Alongside education and skills development, policies to make the UK attractive to non-domestic talent are extremely welcome.

“In an increasingly competitive global market for science and technology, a country’s ability to entice talent and entrepreneurs will make a significant impact on the wider economy.

“Whilst more detail on these new visa schemes will be released in due course, it appears there is already room to refine and improve the measures.

Scale-up and High Potential visas may discriminate against talent from non-traditional universities or forms of education, which immediately limits the size of the potential talent pool.

“There also doesn’t appear to be an entry route for capable independent professionals and the self-employed. People with experience, specialities or potentially disruptive business ideas may well be overlooked in favour of academic achievers.

“The government is also launching a Global Talent Network to proactively find and bring talented people to the country.

“However, many of the world’s most talented professionals are not part of large corporates, nor do they have the same skills that are being promoted through this relatively limited initiative.

“As we wait for this policy to crystalise, organisations will need to continue applying for the Sponsorship License to hire employees from abroad as there is currently no alternative option.

“Ultimately the practical application of high skilled immigration visas will need to remain nimble and responsive to the global talent market.

“Onerous, slow-moving processes can create a sense that the UK is not quite as welcoming as it projects, and could see these industries miss out on talent and hand an advantage to competitors around the world.

“We’ll be following the development of this new visa system closely so we can help clients to immediately benefit from its implementation.”

If you have any specific concerns, then please contact Vitoria Nabas, [email protected].