TEN releases new report on international entrepreneurship


Our new report, Made in the UK: Unlocking the door to international entrepreneurs, conducted with the National Union of Students, shows the benefits of retaining international talent.

Research from University College London has revealed that, between 2001 and 2011, non-EU migrants contributed more than their fair share to our tax and welfare systems. But while our study found as many as 42 per cent of current international (non-EU) students intend to set up their own businesses following graduation, there is a worrying disconnect between potential and policy. Just a third of these graduates want to set up their companies in the UK, and a mere 18 per cent think that the processes in place for post-study work in the UK are better than in other countries.

As our programmes director Annabel Denham wrote in City AM yesterday:

More must be done to encourage these students to start up companies in Britain when they finish their studies, and to this end the government needs to reform the graduate entrepreneur visa, introduced in 2012 to try to plug the gap left by ending the post-study option.

The take-up of the graduate entrepreneur visa has been disappointing and the sentiment expressed by graduates in our survey suggests this won’t change any time order ativan online usa soon. Just 2 per cent of respondents who intend to start a business following graduation applied for the UK graduate entrepreneur visa, with almost two thirds (62 per cent) saying they didn’t even consider it. In fact, nearly half of respondents don’t know whether their institution is certified to endorse them for the visa.

Part of the problem lies in universities being reluctant to take on the risk of endorsing students. To counteract this, official Home Office guidance needs to make it clear that universities aren’t risking their Tier 4 licence – which allows universities to accept students from outside the EU – in the process. Also, allowing UK Trade & Investment-approved accelerators to endorse students would help identify the best entrepreneurs. The report puts forward a slew of further recommendations, but perhaps none would be more effective than reinstating a post-study work visa, letting graduates work in the UK for at least a year after completing their studies.

And as I have written in my Forbes column, despite the anti-immigration rhetoric in the UK’s political debate, the public here actually supports international graduate entrepreneurs. So we just need politicians with the nerve to implement the necessary reforms.