Fast Track Visas Allow Tech Talent to Thrive

As the demand for tech skills increases, countries are changing their visa requirements to attract foreign tech talent.

As the workforce of the future becomes more reliant on technology and data, the need for high-skilled tech talent continues to grow. In the United States alone, technology contributed to 261,000 new jobs in the last year, signaling a more digitized workforce. At the same time, a widening digital skills gap exists, with technology industries falling short an estimated 1.1 million workers by 2020. To become competitive in the global race for digital talent, countries are creating new fast-track tech visas that allow high-skilled foreign tech talent to establish residency.

To become competitive in the global race for digital talent, countries are creating new fast-track tech visas that allow high-skilled foreign tech talent to establish residency.

Australia is the latest country to establish a fast-track tech visa. The visa scheme targets seven “future-focused fields,” including cyber security, fintech and quantum computing under the Global Talent Independent Program (GTIP). Offering permanent residency, the program aims to attract up to 5,000 high-income earners at the top of their tech fields by June 2020. The fast-track nature eases the process for tech talent, who are also actively scouted by Global Talent Officers from the Department of Home Affairs.

Canada is another country tackling the digital skills gap through a fast-track visa, which attracted over 24,000 people over the past two years. Canada allows companies with offices in the country to hire skilled foreign workers in competitive tech industries, fast-tracking their visas within two weeks. Soon after, they’re able to apply for permanent residency, and become citizens within three years.

France recently introduced a visa for tech talent that allows startups to more easily hire foreign talent. The visa stays valid for four years and the foreign tech talent isn’t required to stay with the same company the entirety of their visa, which is renewable. Nearby, tech companies in the U.K. support revisions to the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa, which caps at 200 per year, causing low application turnout. They cite the need to remain competitive with places like Silicon Valley, which would be helped by a more competitive tech talent visa.

In a LinkedIn survey of tech workers in the U.S., 57% reported that they have relocated for a job, while 80% of tech workers have considered moving for a new job. Tech talent is growing increasingly willing to relocate, and the new visas attracting such talent presents the best opportunity for them to do so. Mobility stands to play an influential role in managing this tech talent, helping them get to new locations through exciting new visa schemes from countries looking to benefit from their talent.

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