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Tech firms ‘need fast-track visas to hire overseas staff’

Posted on November 26, 2014
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A major new report commissioned by the minister for creative industries, Ed Vaizey, is to call for fast-track visas to ensure that growing technology companies and others can recruit overseas workers quickly.

The Scale-Up report, which is due to be published on Monday, will also call for a named minister to focus on growing companies, reporting directly to the Prime Minister.

The document, which aims to increase the number of “scaled-up” companies – those with average annualised growth in employees or sales of more than 20pc a year over three years – also calls for the end of the term “SME” to describe small and medium-sized companies.

 It sets out 12 key recommendations, and suggests there is also a need to move away from thinking about “start-ups” to thinking about “scale-ups”.

The report is believed to be addressed to George Osborne, the Chancellor, but it was commissioned by the Information Economy Council, a joint industry and Government body co-chaired by Mr Vaizey.

It is to be launched at an event at Bloomberg’s London offices on Monday by its author, the investor and entrepreneur Sherry Coutu, who is also a non-executive director of the London Stock Exchange.

The recommendations include making national data available so that local public and private sector organisations can identify such companies, and that Government-funded bodies should review how they back them financially.

It is thought to conclude that while a small number of rapidly-expanding companies are creating a significant amount of so-called “scale-up” growth, the UK lags behind the US and others.

The report is understood to be based on analysis and conversations and case studies. It is believed to include analysis from the Royal Bank of Scotland that, in the short-term, an additional 238,000 jobs and some £38bn in additional turnover could be delivered within three years if an emphasis was given to these types of companies.

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