The boss of one of Europe’s biggest financial technology startups has called on the UK government to introduce specialised tech visas to ensure London remains a fintech powerhouse post-Brexit.
London-based Revolut, which has more than four million customers throughout Europe, insists it is committed to the UK, vowing to double its workforce in the country over the next few months.
CEO Nik Storonsky says: “Right now, there is no doubt in my mind that London is the best place to build and grow a fintech startup.”
“However,” he adds “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”.
While avoiding the ‘B’ word, Storonsky cites “political uncertainty” and potential lengthy immigration processes as risks to the UK’s fintech industry, with top talents moving to other EU countries such as France and Germany.
“In my mind, we need to apply pressure on the UK Government to introduce fast track visas for technology professionals, particularly in the areas of software development and data science,” says Russian born Storonsky.
The intervention marks a departure from comments made by the Revolut founder in April 2017, when he hit out at Brexit “fear-mongering” among some of his fintech colleagues and talked up the “nurturing” of home-grown talent.
However, with the likelihood of a hard Brexit increasing over recent months, Revolut has had to take some mitigating steps in case of passporting issues, applying for an e-money licence in Luxembourg and a full banking licence in Lithuania.