04 November 2010
The UK Government is expected to announce a new "entrepreneur visa" aimed at attracting investor-backed businessmen who wish to immigrate to the UK to start high-tech companies. The goal is to better position London as a hot-bed for startups; The UK Government hopes that East London will become the "Silicon Valley" of the UK.
The United States, particularly the San Francisco Bay area, is known for its leading position in encouraging high-tech innovation, something the UK hopes to emulate. Europe in general is often seen as lagging behind America in encouraging entrepreneurship, particularly in the technology arena.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron is announced plans for the new entrepreneur visa on 4 November 2010, which if successful will transform part of East London into a High Tech Centre; Investors include companies such as Google, Intel, and Facebook.
Businessmen applying for an entrepreneur visa are expected to have significant backing from investors for their new business. How much investment will be required remains to be seen.
The new visa announcement comes at a time when the UK Border Agency has a cap on highly skilled immigration. Many would say that making it easier for people to come into the UK on a Tier 1 Visa or Tier 2 Visa would do much more to encourage innovation and investment in the UK than a new high-tech area in East London.
It also remains to be seen just how this new visa will be integrated into the UK's existing tiered immigration system.