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Britain readies new 'fast track' fintech visa for highly-skilled workers

·2-min read
London city center skyscraper building. Business architecture UK. Tower blocks rising above central London bus.
The chancellor hopes that the new scheme will allow firms to get applications from the best candidates globally. Photo: Getty

Rishi Sunak is set to reveal a "fast track" visa to attract highly skilled workers for rapidly growing companies in the Budget next week.

The chancellor hopes that the new scheme will allow firms to get applications from the best candidates globally — a move the Treasury says will boost the fintech sector.

Around 42% of Britain's 76,500 fintech workers are migrants, an independent report found.

The route is largely targeted at financial technology and cyber firms, such as Monzo, Revolut and OakNorth, which contribute billions of pounds to the UK economy every year.

According to accounting firm EY the sector, which has hubs in London, Leeds, Manchester, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast and elsewhere, contributed around £11bn ($15.3bn) in 2019.

Britain has a 10% share of the global fintech market. In 2020, investment into UK fintech stood at $4.1bn (£2.9bn). This was more than the next four European countries combined, the Treasury said.

Under the new system, highly-skilled migrants, with a job offer from a recognised UK 'scale ups' — innovative high-growth fintech and cyber companies — will qualify for a fast-track visa, without the need for sponsorship or third-party endorsement.

The chancellor said: “This new fast-track scale up stream will make it easier for fintech firms to recruit innovators and job creators, who will help them grow.”

Scale-up businesses have an annual growth of at least 20% over three years, with at least 10 workers at the start.

The government will set out more details in July, with the aim to launch the new visa scheme in March 2022.

READ MORE: UK can't 'rest on laurels' over fintech, government told

The move comes after the Treasury announced a slew of plans ahead of the chancellor's second Budget on 3 March to help get the country back on track post-Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic.

"Now we’ve left the EU and taken back control of our borders, we want to make sure our immigration system helps businesses attract the best talent from around the world," Sunak added.

On Friday evening, it announced a £126m investment to bolster traineeships and create 40,000 new posts to help people back into the jobs market.

The Treasury also unveiled a mortgage scheme to help first-time buyers with low deposits buy a home. Under the plans, buyers will pay just 5% deposits to buy homes worth up to £600,000 and will offer lenders the guarantee to provide mortgages covering the remaining 95%.

Additionally, it has also revealed plans to create a task force to crack down on fraudsters exploiting the UK government COVID-19 support schemes. Sunak will unveil at the Budget on Wednesday a £100m investment to launch the task force.

WATCH: What UK government COVID-19 support is available?