UK fintech sector calls on Government to tone down hostile immigration policy

UK fintech sector calls on Government to tone down hostile immigration policy

With the UK's 'hostile' policy towards immigration claiming its first political casualty in the shape of Home Secretary Amber Rudd, Innovate Finance has waded into the debate warning about the threat to the fintech sector from a tightening of the rules on overseas workers.

The UK fintech sector currently employs some 76,500 people, of whom 42% are from overseas - 28% from European Economic Area (EEA) countries, and 14% from non-EEA countries.

London's booming fintech market is viewed as a major success story and lauded by the Government as a key contributor to UK economic performance. Innovate Finance estimates that the sector is set to grow to more than 100,000 employees, and the number of UK fintech companies more than double to 3,300, by the year 2030.

However, 82% of companies say they already face difficulties in recruiting non-EEA migrants. Under the most likely scenario for future immigration policy, in which the system for EEA migrants moves closer to that for non-EEA migrants, the report predicts a shortfall of 3,200 highly-skilled workers by 2030, at a cost to the UK fintech sector of £361m.

Catherine McGuinness, policy chairman of the City of London Corporation say: “As the financial services sector increasingly turns to technology to shape its future, it’s essential that the UK is able to attract international talent to unlock the full potential of this thriving industry. This data shines a spotlight on the urgent need to clarify an immigration policy for European workers ahead of the UK’s departure from the bloc in March next year."

Innovate Finance, which represent the views of some 250 paid-up members, has called on the Government to adapt a more flexible and proportionate policy on immigration and to redefine the meaning of “highly-skilled” worker in today’s global jobs market.

Charlotte Crosswell, CEO of Innovate Finance says: “Access to talent is a perennial issue, and one which affects all sectors of our economy. This is not in light of Brexit, but Brexit shines a light on it and risks exacerbating the issue further. Without a flexible approach, the UK fintech sector stands to lose its global pre-eminence with fintech companies already facing challenges in recruiting appropriate skills and talent."

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