The British government must take steps to reassure games developers from the EU that their livelihood in the UK is secure.
That’s the message from industry trade body TIGA, which has issued a call for the government to safeguard the rights of EU workers ahead of the ‘Brexit’.
TIGA CEO Dr Richard Wilson said that EU developers must be provided with “the confidence and assurance that they are not going to be asked to leave the UK at some stage”, following the much-debated topic of immigration measures surrounding the controversial referendum.
It’s a subject particularly close to the games industry’s heart, and with good reason – TIGA believes that 15 per cent of those in the games development industry are originally from EU countries.
Wilson said that one vital step needed is to increase the immigration cap for skilled, sponsored workers from 20,700 “to accommodate the needs of UK employers in the future”.
“Secondly, certain roles within the games sector where there is a specific skills shortage, for example, Engine Programmer, Game Analyst and Senior Game Designer, may need to be added to the Shortage Occupation List to ensure that employers can recruit the employees they need without undue delay,” he continued.
“Thirdly, any new immigration system must minimise some of the costs and complexity of the current points based immigration system as it is likely that any replacement will need to deal with work permits on a far larger scale than it is used for at present. It is vital that any new arrangements are not onerous or complex and that industry is not held back by skills shortages."
Wilson described the measures as “just, reasonable and practical”.
“The government must also clarify the status of EU workers who enter the UK following the EU referendum and prior to the UK’s exit from the EU,” he added.
“Looking ahead, TIGA recognises that given the outcome of the referendum and also the position that the EU may take in any negotiations, it may be impossible to preserve free movement rights in their current form. In that case, the UK will need an effective and efficient migration system.”
A UKIE survey prior to the nationwide vote found that 80 per cent of British developers wanted to remain part of the EU – a sentiment not reflected in the final 52/48 decision to leave.