This is not just another piece about the omnipresent spectre of Coronavirus. Since the Coronavirus outbreak began in December last year, we have seen the world focus on little else other than the potentially catastrophic impact of the virus on our physical, mental and economic health. We have seen the virus bring out the worst in us, from the selfish locust-like stripping of supermarket shelves, to an unconscionably racist rhetoric surrounding the origin of the virus in Wuhan. It’s time to focus on the positive and to shine a light on the innovative thinking driving the technology that will surely help us battle and beat Coronavirus. It’s time to think about how we, as immigration specialists and legal partners of Tech Nation, can help bring that essential tech talent to the UK.
This is a pandemic in which technology will play a key role in bringing a resolution. We have already realised that this will be the most high-tech response to a pandemic in human history. In the coming onslaught, technological support in keeping essential services running, keeping businesses afloat and keeping people alive will be undeniable and immeasurable. This global pandemic is showing us, on an unprecedented level, just how interconnected the world is now.
The role of technology amidst the pandemic
The impact of technology is manifesting in a wide range of ways. Those of us who have been unable to find groceries have managed to keep ourselves fed at the touch of an app, we have seen community-led social networking groups helping to provide relief and assistance to the vulnerable, and home working technologies have enabled me to bring this blog to you from the (relative) safety of my front room.
Perhaps most crucially, and as the healthcare system prepares to shoulder this overwhelming burden, we will see the positive contribution which health-tech can make in easing the pressure on the public sector.
As we have been sinking into chaos, we have seen UK-based tech companies coming up with radical solutions. In health-tech in particular we have some home-grown British businesses rising to the challenge. Doctify, Pushdoctor and Babylon Health have shown they can alleviate the pressure on the NHS through offering free video consultations. CausaLens could potentially help with optimising limited resource allocation by predicting how diseases may spread in real time. BenevolentAI is already working on identifying existing drugs that could relieve some of the symptoms and complications of the virus. Finally, Amplyfi has already offered up a public Coronavirus global search engine covering all modern languages, taking their potential contribution beyond the confines of the UK.
The possibilities for advancement in the health-tech sector are, of course, not limited to the Coronavirus response, which has been recognised by Tech Nation with exciting health-tech companies such as Healx, BenevolentAI and Babylon being named in Tech Nation’s Future Fifty 8.0 cohort. The potential future impact of health-tech in supporting the beleaguered NHS is myriad and wide-ranging. It has already been seen how access to online consultations can transform general practice, and this can be extended further through electronic prescribing capabilities. It is likely that the necessity of moving standard GP appointments to telephone and online consultations will have lasting impacts on the way these services are offered.
Tech can also revolutionise surgery through developments in 3D printing, and the ability of virtual reality to ease the rehabilitation process for amputees is also currently being explored. Beyond that, the potential for advancements in cyber security to allow us to develop more streamlined and accessible patient record databases could bring untold benefits to both research and care management. The possibilities are endless.
All of this demonstrates the key role that tech plays and will continue to play in the UK and beyond. The tech sector will be at the heart of the Coronavirus response but also, arguably, to our future success as a nation. The ability of these tech companies to pivot and adapt to completely unprecedented situations like these is due largely to the innovative and ingenious thinking of the teams behind them. The UK digital tech sector offers a forum for the best and brightest to come to the forefront, to innovate and see solutions where others see only problems. As shown in Tech Nation’s 2020 report, there is ample evidence that the UK is getting this right. The Tech Nation report indicates that in 2019 the digital tech sector grew six times faster than the rest of the UK economy and that more than £10 billion of inward investment helped UK tech businesses to grow. This accounted for a whopping one-third of all EU tech investment!
Tech Nation endorsement and the Global Talent visa
The UK digital tech sector is growing exponentially and is cementing its place as a world leader. Access to talent is widely recognised as being a key factor to the ongoing success of sector development. Endorsement by Tech Nation under the Global Talent route is an excellent way for key talent to either stay in or come to the UK. If you are an innovative thinker and have big plans for the UK digital tech sector, then this could be the perfect route for you.
As one of the legal partners of Tech Nation, we have had the privilege of attending some of their exciting events and have witnessed first-hand the fantastic community they have brought together, complete with a super engaged alumni network. If you want to be a part of that community and have questions about the Tech Nation endorsement or the Global Talent visa in general then please get in touch. The UK needs you, now more than ever!
Latest blogs & news
The deadline to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme (“EUSS”) was 30 June 2021. But for those who missed it – all is not lost. The Home Office will continue to accept applications from individuals with ‘reasonable grounds’ for having missed the EUSS cut-off point. In this blog, we explore what might constitute a ‘reasonable ground’ and consider the legal implications for those who have fallen short of the deadline.
The Home Office has shown efficiency and innovation in dealing with EU nationals-it now needs to show its humanity
In February 2019, shortly after the launch of EU Settlement scheme for EU nationals to apply for their UK status, my colleagues and I visited one of our global media client’s offices to present on the new EU Settlement Scheme at a town hall meeting with all of their EU national employees.
Gone are the days of computer gaming being viewed as a secluded activity; gaming is now a thoroughly social experience that attracts a global audience of millions and players can compete for large sums of money and celebrity. This burgeoning industry is largely in a virtual world and has developed in a blockchain, decentralised fashion. Often the UK government talks up the UK gaming industry and how keen the government is to support this sector, and there have been instances that show support, but when it comes to playing games competitively, law and regulations have not yet caught up.
The UK left the EU in January 2020, in accordance with the Withdrawal Agreement there has been a grace period in place since 1 January 2021 which ends on 30 June 2021. The basis of the grace period is that those EU citizens (and EEA and Swiss citizens) who were residents in the UK on or before 31 December 2020 have until 30 June 2021 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
The furore around the announcement by a number of football clubs of their intention to create a European Super League has led to governments displaying their opposition to the idea and issuing threats on the legislative leverage that could be used to stop the breakaway league from getting going.
On 9 March 2021, the Care Quality Commission (“CQC”) and Equality and Human Rights Commission (“EHRC”) published a new memorandum of understanding agreement (“the MoU”). The MoU seeks to increase the effectiveness of the two organisations’ work in safeguarding the wellbeing and rights of people receiving health and social care in England, through developing a supportive framework and strategic partnership.
Any sense of a post-Brexit slowdown in UK immigration changes was quickly swept away last week with a thorough spring clean and polish to a wide range of rules. As is commonly the case at this time of year, a statement of changes in the Immigration Rules was released in advance of 6 April when many of the changes will come into force. We set out the main changes below and also include a quick summary of the headlines from the Budget on how new immigration categories aim to assist with the economic recovery.
COVID-19 has had a severely damaging affect on all organisations and no less so those in the charitable sector. Be that on a dramatic hit to donation levels, resourcing issues through furloughing or redundancies and difficulties in delivering programmes and training. In a battle to survive and deliver on core services, it is easier than ever to forget crucial internal risk and compliance processes.
The COVID - 19 pandemic will certainly go down in history as one of the worse periods in modern times. Many of us will have stories to tell the future children about a time when the world was held to ransom by the pandemic and people were forced to stay home and could only leave if they had a legitimate reason, such as going out for medicine or food. So, what of those who are “home” but, don’t have the choices we do?
The Tech Nation Visa (officially known as the Global Talent visa) enables the brightest and best tech talent from around the world to come and work in the UK’s digital technology sector, contributing their cutting-edge expertise, creativity and innovation to maintaining the UK’s position at the forefront of the global digital economy.
The Hong Kong British National (Overseas) (BN(O)) visa has officially opened for applications on 31 January 2021. Given the circumstances surrounding the introduction of the BN(O) visa, it is quite understandable that applicants may still have questions about this visa route and personal considerations on applying.
In this blog we answer some of your most frequently asked questions about the BN(O) visa to help you consider whether this is the right UK visa path for you and your family. Our earlier blog also details the key highlights of the visa.
EU free movement rules ended for the UK on December 31 2020. As a result, recruiting an EU citizen who is not already living in the UK now involves a visa application.
Citizens’ Rights were one of the first and most important components to be negotiated and protected in the November 2019 Withdrawal Agreement. However, whilst the rights of British citizens resident in the EU and EU citizens resident in the UK before 11pm on 31 December 2020 are protected, free movement of people ended on that date.
As covered in our previous blog, the end of free movement will affect the ability of entertainers from the EU to work in the UK. But recent press has also surrounded the ability, or lack of it, of touring British citizen performers to work in the EU.
The UK’s Immigration Rules include general grounds for refusal which most immigration applications must not fall foul of – the general grounds are divided between mandatory and discretionary grounds, under which applications must or may be refused respectively. The general grounds now also apply to most EEA nationals wishing to enter the UK.
Dramatic changes to our immigration system are taking effect. A new points-based system kicked in on 1 December 2020 affecting businesses wishing to employ non-EU citizens which will also apply to EU citizens (including from the EEA and Switzerland) when freedom of movement ceases on 1 January 2021. So, how can employers prepare for the new changes?
As the UK goes through the disappointing process of raising barriers on entry to EEA nationals coming to the UK, an immigration category soon to emerge, that is separate to the EU Settlement Scheme, is the frontier worker visa.
Many companies in the tech sector will be aware of the new immigration system and Skilled Worker category opening in a couple of weeks on 1 December. For those companies without a sponsor licence, they will need to apply for one in order to recruit both non-EU and EU citizens. EU citizens resident in the UK before 11pm on 31 December 2020 can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
On 22 October 2020, the UK Government finally released its Statement of Changes to the new Immigration Rules, which includes the legal framework for the new BN(O) visa route.
Once the pandemic blows over, hopefully soon in 2021 the entertainment sector will bounce back into action, with concerts, performances and other events once again a part of our lives. Whilst it may at present be far from the minds of companies in the entertainment and creative sectors, post 31 December 2020, entertainers and artists who are EEA nationals and who have long-benefited from freedom of movement to the UK, may need to consider immigration issues that have to date been reserved for non-EEA nationals. EEA nationals who are or have been resident in the UK before 31 December 2020 should apply to the EU Settlement Scheme before the deadline of 30 June 2021. The EU Settlement Scheme provides a route for EEA nationals to continue to reside and work in the UK without having to apply for a visa under the UK’s new immigration system.