• UK chancellor’s new visa scheme to attract fintech talent post-Brexit

    The UK chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has drawn up a new post-Brexit visa scheme to attract more global fintech talent. It will give priority access to workers in the tech industry to live and work in the UK.

    According to The Telegraph, both the UK prime minister Boris Johnson, and lobby group Tech Nation, back the new visa scheme.

    Sunak wants to prioritise the UK’s £7 billion fintech sector

    The island fears EU citizens will leave the UK en masse, reducing the pool of talent sectors like fintech can draw from.

    In 2020, half a million EU citizens left the UK permanently – the vast majority exiting London, according to Oxford University research.

    Set to be part of the country’s post-Brexit immigration system, the scheme is one of the recommendations in Ron Kalifa’s independent fintech report, set to land on Friday.

    The Telegraph also suggests Sunak’s Budget, set to land on 3 March, will prioritise the UK’s £7 billion fintech sector.

    Pledges, funds and papers
    This isn’t the only thing Johnson’s government has done for fintech in the last year. HM Treasury supported the launch of Tech Nation’s “Fintech Pledge” in September.

    The pledge, designed to better connect banks and fintechs, counted early signatures from five major banks. These include Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, NatWest, and Santander.

    In April, Sunak also announced its £1.25 billion “Future Fund”, which has seen fintech start-ups like Habito raise capital with the government’s help.

    The move followed weeks of debate and pressure on the government to help those start-ups fenced out from applying to aid due to the requirements to be a profitable business.

    The British Business Bank also approved a number of alternative fintech lenders. Their reserves had dried up due to the pandemic, rendering them incapable of loan issuing.

    But not without major delays, which saw bodies call on the government to take desperate action in plugging the gaps for small and medium-sized enterprises.

    Towards the end of last year, Sunak also announced the Bank of England’s central bank digital currency (CBDC) discussion paper. Yet to go to press, the paper will address the worries held by many that the UK is behind on CBDCs.

    The City of London’s Whitechapel Think Tank published a 74-page report on how the UK should go about launching its CBDC. One of the core contributors, former Oracle executive Anthony Welfare, told FinTech Futures in December that “we should be further along than we are, but we’re not”.

    Welfare puts this down to the “scale and complexity” of the UK payments landscape. He said this makes it harder to move fast compared to other countries, which may prove to be a barrier Sunak highlights in his discussion paper.

    Read next: The Fintech Review: 2020

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