Tech City UK, which has the power to fast-track up to 200 talented technologists to the UK each year, has claimed that the nine applicants it endorsed since April 2014 is a “testament” to the UK tech industry.

The claim comes after Techworld revealed that the government-funded quango received just 10 applications for the “Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa” between between 6 April 2014 and 1 April 2015. 

Joanna Shields Flickr AIB
Ex-Googler Joanna Shields has spearheaded the Tech City UK quango since it was founded ©Flickr/AIB

“The purpose of this visa route is to attract applicants that demonstrate world-class aptitude to ensure our sector can compete on the world stage,” a spokeswoman told The Times.

With nine individuals accepted since launch, the figure of 200 is not a target but rather a maximum allowance. This is testament to the UK’s leadership as a global tech hub considering this is the first year for the visa route.” 

The visa has been poorly marketed in the UK and overseas, according to Migreat, an organisation that helps people worldwide to move to the UK. Josephine Goube, director of partnerships at Migreat, added that it is hard to apply for as it involves making two separate applications: one to the Home Office and one to Tech City UK.

The Home Office granted Tech City UK the power to endorse the visa to the best overseas tech talent last April in a bid to address the skills shortage that many UK tech companies are witnessing.

Tech City UK refused to reveal the visa numbers, forcing Techworld to file a Freedom of Information request to the Home Office.