UK firms increase dependence on non-EU tech talent as skills shortage intensifies

Businesses across the UK are hiring an increasing number of non-EU technology professionals in a bid to address the national IT skills shortage.

Figures out today from SJD Accountancy show 34,229 non-EU IT professionals obtained UK work permits in 2014, up 13 percent on the year before.

Simon Curry, CEO of SJD Accountancy, said: "As economic activity rebounds and spare capacity diminishes, the UK is becoming increasingly reliant on foreign IT skills."

SJD Accountancy said the most in-demand roles are IT business analysts, architects and systems designers, programmers and software developers, web design and development specialists.

A 2013 O2 report, The Future Digital Skills Needs of the UK Economy, estimated 745,000 additional workers with digital skills would be needed to meet rising demand from employers between 2013 and 2017. Halfway through that time frame, there has been no let-up in the skills shortage.

Yet as UK businesses increase their reliance on non-EU talent, the government is looking to reduce the number of skilled professionals it accepts at its borders.

One possible route of entry for skilled IT workers outside the EU is the Tier 2 visa, but the Home Office is currently exploring how it can make this visa more difficult to secure.


Sam Shead

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