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UK fintech for call for clarity on Brexit immigration policy

With the UK's exit from the European Union ever looming, Innovate Finance, the trade body, says jobs could be at risk.

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The UK fintech sector is highly dependent on global talent with 42 per cent of its estimated 76,500 employees from outside the UK, according to new research from Innovate Finance.

The trade body, which represents the UK’s global fintech industry, is based in London and backed by the City of London Corporation, forecasts that an additional 30,000 new jobs could be created by 2030. However, it says a lack of clear direction for immigration post Brexit could derail the industry’s growth.

At present 28 per cent of the UK’s fintech sector are drawn from the European Economic Area and, Innovate Finance says, a failure to maintain a flexible immigration policy could harm the attractiveness of the UK as a place to do business in the wake of Brexit. In addition, it says a shortfall in highly-skills workers could lead to a potential loss of £361m to the UK fintech sector. 

Its report, compiled alongside WPI Economics, said the sector has approximately 76,500 employees with the number of UK fintech companies forecast to more than double to 3,300 by the year 2030. 

In addition it found 82 per cent of companies say they already face difficulties in recruiting non-EEA migrants. Looking at a future immigration policy, in which the system for EEA migrants moves closer to that for non-EEA migrants, the report predicts a shortfall of 3,200 highly-skilled workers by 2030, at a cost to the UK sector of £361m. 

Charlotte Crosswell, CEO of Innovate Finance says without a flexible approach, the UK fintech sector stands to lose its global pre-eminence with fintech companies already facing challenges in recruiting appropriate skills and talent.

 “Access to talent is a perennial issue, and one which affects all sectors of our economy. This is not in light of Brexit, but Brexit shines a light on it and risks exacerbating the issue further," she said,

However, she adds, the potential size of the loss has not yet come to pass and if managed correctly, may not materialise.

“It is up to policy-makers, industry and academia to propose sensible recommendations to mitigate the impact of these findings and to ensure sectors such as fintech continue to be an engine for UK innovation and growth,” she added.

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