Trade body TIGA welcomes UK Government’s plans to expand skilled-based migration and attract international game devs

TIGA – a trade association representing the UK video games industry – announced today it welcomes Government plans to expand “the skilled-based migration route” by dropping the salary threshold from £30,000 to £25,600 and reducing the qualification threshold from a degree to A-levels and equivalent qualifications. 

A Government White Paper which details its legislation on immigration is scheduled for March 2020, with plans to put the new rules in place from January 2021. TIGA says the plans published today reflect “many of the proposals made by the Migration Advisory Committee”, to which TIGA has “supplied detailed evidence about the video games industry for a number of years”.  

“The UK video games industry is a high skills, high technology, export-focused sector. 75 per cent of our current workforce are from the UK, 20 per cent from the EU and 5 per cent from the rest of the world,” said Dr Richard Wilson OBE, TIGA CEO. “While our sector already invests in skills and training, if our sector is to continue to grow, expand and succeed, then we need to be able to access highly skilled people from overseas.

“TIGA welcomes the Government’s intention to expand the skilled-based migration route by reducing the salary threshold from £30,000 to £25,600 and reducing the qualification threshold from a degree to A levels and equivalent qualifications. However, some UK games businesses employ skilled overseas workers in shortage occupations on salaries lower than the planned £25,600 threshold. It will be important for some employers in these situations to be able to ‘trade’ criteria such as their specific job offer and qualifications against a lower salary.

“TIGA strongly supports the plan to allow overseas graduates to be able to work for up to two years in the UK after they complete their degrees,” he added. “This will be good for graduates, universities, employers and the UK economy.”

TIGA also recently responded to Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) recommendations for the retention and expansion the Tier 2 (General) visas framework, stating it “could help to ensure that the video games industry can still access the highly skilled developers that it needs post-Brexit”.

The UK government’s MAC recommended that a number of jobs related to the video game industry should be included in the Shortage Occupation List (SOL) last year. The list – which is used to prioritise visa applications from immigrant candidates with expertise in a range of professions – was recently been updated to reflect shortages found across many creative industries, including roles commonly needed in the video games sector.

About Vikki Blake

It took 15 years of civil service monotony for Vikki to crack and switch to writing about games. She has since become an experienced reporter and critic working with a number of specialist and mainstream outlets in both the UK and beyond, including Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, IGN, MTV, and Variety.

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