• Recommendations published by The Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec) advise the creation of a ‘real’ entrepreneurs visa and the expansion of Tier 5 ‘Youth Mobility’ visa to all Europeans under 30.
  • The report comes as Government is set to publish new White Paper on Immigration post-Brexit


The Coalition for a Digital Economy (Coadec), the independent advocacy group that serves as the policy voice for Britain’s technology-led startups and scaleups, has launched a new paper urging the Government to ensure changes to the visa system will consider the needs of the UK’s growing tech startup and scaleup community.

The new report provides 10 key recommendations to Government on reforms to the visa system that would improve the experience for tech startups including:

– The creation of a true ‘Entrepreneur Visa’ that would allow innovative founders, advocated for by trusted third parties, to build their businesses in the UK regardless of their personal wealth.

– The expansion of the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa (which allows citizens of countries like Canada & Australia aged 30 and under to come to the UK for two years) to all EU citizens and potentially further as part of the UK’s future trade deals.

– The consideration of share options and equity, a typical form of compensation in early stage tech firms, as part of the minimum salary required for Tier 2 visas.

– The wholesale revamp and reform of the bureaucratic visa application process to drag it into the 21st Century.


Commenting on the report Dom Hallas, Executive Director of Coadec, said:

“Accessing the right talent is the number one issue for startups in the UK. Full stop. We don’t have enough skilled people to fill tech roles, but right now – our visa system is making this worse.

We need to ensure that whatever comes next for visas doesn’t lock out many of the UK’s fastest growing tech firms because of bureaucracy, cost or just straight-up bad policy.”

Talking about the recommended expansion of the Tier 5 visa to EU citizens, Hallas added:

“Ending free movement is bad for tech. But expansion of the Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa, allowing Under 30s in Europe to spend two years in the UK just like Canadians or Aussies – would give potential tech workers or entrepreneurs a chance to contribute and prove themselves before getting a permanent visa. There’s no reason that it couldn’t be a model for future trade deals with places like the US too.”

Commenting on the plan for a proper ‘Entrepreneur Visa’ with no capital requirement, Jeff LynnChairman of Coadec and Co-Founder & Executive Chairman of investment platform Seedrs, who himself emigrated from the US before founding his business in the UK, said:

“A true Entrepreneur visa should be about attracting the best ideas not the largest bank balance. We need a visa system that allows the very best Entrepreneurs to come and build their business in the UK whether they have a tonne of cash or not.

I was able to come to the UK and build my business because of a visa that has since been abolished. I’m grateful for the chance I had – we need to make sure the next generation of tech talent has that same opportunity.”