Revolut's CEO warns authorities about Brexit-triggered talent drain

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Immigration restrictions are a threat to London’s status as a fintech hub, enough for Revolut CEO Nikolay Storonsky to demand the U.K.’s government take special steps to prevent the technology talent from going elsewhere.

Revolut recently secured a European banking license in Lithuania to continue doing business in the EU after the U.K. departs. But Revolut's CEO is making a more direct appeal to the U.K. government for immigration reform that encourages talent to relocate to London to feed the city’s fintech industry.

Storonsky is calling for the U.K. government to fast-track visas for technology professionals, particularly in areas such as software development and data science.
“Right now there is no doubt in my mind that London is the best place to build and grow a fintech startup,” Storonsky said in a release. “However there is a serious lack of homegrown technical talent here.”

With the deadline for a “hard Brexit” approaching on March 29, European and U.K. financial firms, banks and fintechs are scrambling to ensure continuity given the uncertainty. Currently that includes a rush for licensing in countries such as Lithuania, which has a speedier process. The Netherlands also reports it's seeing a rush for licenses, and the U.K.’s Starling Bank is seeking a license in Ireland.

Storonsky does not mention Brexit in Revolut’s release, and the company did not return a request for comment by deadline. But the implication is clear.

“With all of the political uncertainty kicking off right now, lengthy immigration processes and bureaucracy will only slow down the U.K. fintech industry’s growth,” Storonsky said.

Revolut also doesn’t mention other countries in its release, though political fights such as the recent U.S. government shutdown and trade disputes are also concerning fintechs there and in China. Revolut is planning a U.S. expansion and is hiring experts with licensing and compliance expertise for fast entry to the new market.

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