A number of budding entrepreneurs and tech heavyweights planning on building business relationships during Dublin’s Web Summit have had their visas delayed - or denied - in yet another embarrassing paperwork fiasco.
Last year 22,119 techies gathered in Dublin including employees from Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Box and over sixty percent of the Fortune 500 - making Web Summit one of the most influential and lucrative tech events to network and close deals at. It is expected to welcome 30,000 this year - although this number may decline due visa issues.
“In the last ten days a number of visas for our attendees, employees and speakers have been denied or delayed. Please be mindful that all your paperwork needs to be in order, in particular if you are travelling from China or India,” read an email from the Web Summit team sent to attendees this week.
@WebSummitHQ I hav WebSummit tickets but my Visa is still struck at Ireland Embassey in India can you do something.— Viresh Narkar (@vireshnarkar) October 25, 2015
Anurag Rathor, founder of Zify, a startup that allows you to share car journeys was denied a visa to attend the conference last year. Rathor, who is based in Hyberedad, India, told Techworld he had spent €3000 on his application, only for it to be rejected by the UK government over complications with a Dublin hotel that was listed as the startup's accommodation during the event.
"I decided not to travel this time...Last year was pathetic," he said.
Ireland and UK have differing visa schemes, however Ireland offers a waiver if the individual has already acquired a UK visa, and is travelling to the country after visiting the UK.
Bureaucracy strikes again
The UK government has promised changes to its troubled visa scheme following complaints from tech companies struggling to bring in overseas talent.
Techworld discovered that despite the fact that government body Tech City UK was given the power to endorse up to 200 overseas individuals each year with the Exceptional Talent Visa it endorsed just seven over the course of a year.
Despite this, companies like Google UK have been struggling to bring in the overseas talent they need because the government ran out of visas, it told Techworld.
In response, last month the government announced changes to the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa, including a "team application" that will allow firms to hire up to five people outside the EU at once.
The Tier 2 visa is for skilled foreign employees outside the EU and it is used by companies like Google to attract people from the likes of Silicon Valley and Bangalore.
There were 20,700 Tier 2 visas available each year to employers who want to recruit skilled workers outside the EU.
The Home Office confirmed to the BBC that the monthly allocation of "Tier 2" visas has been filled for June. There were 1,650 allocations for June, but the Home Office refused to reveal how many applications it received.
New challenge! I didn't receive my passport with the visa. I'll receive it in Moscow. So let's fly to Moscow without my passport #Websummit— dronoman (@dronoman_info) October 29, 2015
Doctors, nurses, teachers are also locked out of the country, as are accountants, solicitors and management consultants are amongst some of the other skills in need within the UK, forcing companies to look internationally for employees.
Techworld is waiting to hear from Web Summit where the problems lie and how many attendees have been affected.