Revolut calls for special tech visas to preserve London’s fintech credentials

Revolut is lobbying the Government to create fast-track visas for EU technology professionals in a bid to preserve London’s status as the global centre of fintech after Brexit.

Chief executive and co-founder Nikolay Storonsky warned that Britain could risk losing talent to Germany and France if the country does not streamline immigration policy for tech professionals.

With nearly three quarters of Revolut’s software engineers and data scientists recruited outside of the UK, Mr Storonsky bemoaned the “serious lack of homegrown technical talent” in the UK.

Rival fintech hubs have stepped up efforts to lure investment and jobs from London to the European Union since Britain’s 2016 vote on membership of the bloc.

Revolut recently secured a European banking licence from Bank of Lithuania in order to provide financial services in the EU.

Mr Storonsky said: “Right now, there is no doubt in my mind that London is the best place to build and grow a fintech start-up.

“However, there is a serious lack of homegrown technical talent here, which is why around 70% of our software engineers and data scientists are recruited from abroad.

“With all of the political uncertainty kicking off right now, lengthy immigration processes and bureaucracy will only slow down the UK fintech industry’s growth and we risk losing out on the best talent to other EU countries such as Germany and France”.

He said fast-track visas for technology professionals would “give a much needed boost to the UK skills market and allow UK-based tech companies, such as Revolut, to create more jobs and scale our operations globally”.

Revolut has grown rapidly since it was launched in 2015 by former investment bankers Mr Storonsky and Vladyslav Yatsenko providing digital bank accounts and cards with free foreign exchange transactions.

The firm now has more than four million customers with over 10,000 new accounts opening a day.

It also processes over seven billion US dollars (£5.4 billion) a month in transactions.

Mr Storonsky said Revolut is targeting 50,000 new accounts opening in Europe a day by the end of the year, but that the company needs to double its London workforce in order to achieve the goal.

“For years now, we’ve been asking ourselves why the UK has not been producing as many global tech companies as the United States.

“In my opinion, it’ll be UK-based fintech companies who go on to achieve this status, but we’ll need fast and easy access to talent to do so,” he said.

Revolut is seeking support from other UK tech companies and to engage further with the Government having already visited Downing Street and held talks with Margot James MP, the minister for digital and culture.

Mr Storonsky said: “Over the coming months, we’ll aim to gather wide scale support among the UK tech sector and actively engage in discussions with the relevant UK Government departments.

“The Prime Minister has previously stated on record that boosting the UK technology sector is a key focus for the government, so I’m optimistic that we can find some common ground here.”

The company intends to launch in a number of markets this year including the US, Canada and Japan.

Last April it acquired the coveted unicorn status for a private company with a valuation of 1.7 billion dollars, but was recently taken over by German rival N26, which is worth 2.7 billion dollars.

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