London to remain tech leader only if Government addresses skills gap

The visas are needed in order to plug the skills gap in the UK tech and media sectors, but plans by the Coalition Government to restrict non-EU migration could exacerbate the existing skills gap.

The study found that 45 per cent of tech businesses are seeing a lack of skilled workers as the key challenge to London staying at the top tech league tables.

Despite high-costs for both established and start-up businesses, London has retained its edge against growing competition from Dublin and Berlin as well as central eastern markets and nordic cities.

Guy Grantham, Head of Offices Research, Colliers International said: “Given the importance of the media and tech sectors to UK plc, it is astonishing that the government is not doing more to allow skilled migrants from outside the EU to come to this country.
“There is no doubt that enticing the likes of Facebook, Google and Cisco to Tech City has been transformative. But reality bites and Berlin, with Germany’s simplification of non-EU migration for skilled workers, lays down a challenge to expensive and space-restrained London.

“The stakes are high for the capital. Smaller start-ups become global tech players with sizeable tax revenues. We need innovative businesses in the UK and these businesses require world-leading, skilled innovators.”

The research also showed that although tech businesses are becoming more driven by availability, almost half of new leases in London’s West End during last year were from the tech and media sector.

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