UK's Boris Johnson welcomes Australian tech entrepreneurs

UK's Boris Johnson welcomes Australian tech entrepreneurs

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SYDNEY (AP) — British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson assured concerned Australian tech entrepreneurs on Wednesday that they will be welcome to continue working in his country after it leaves the European Union.

Johnson was quizzed by technology bosses when he visited the Tyro Fintech Hub shared space for startups in Sydney.

PayDock founder and chief executive Rob Lincolne asked if there will be ministerial support for Australian staff to get visas, while Seatfrog boss Iain Griffin raised concerns about the supply of highly skilled workers in Britain after it exits the EU.

Johnson, who had advocated for Britain's EU departure, seemed surprised by Griffin's concerns, asking him, "Are you really worried?"

"Every business has difficulty finding people," Griffin replied.

Seatfrog is expanding into the Britain and its chief executive is worried Brexit could reduce the country's talent pool.

Johnson said his government wanted to ensure that "people who have energy and talent of ideas can still come to the U.K."

"Of course there will be pressures to try to constrain the overall immigration numbers because they are very, very high at the moment," Johnson said. "But that does not mean we want to see a reduction in the number of tech people who come to London."

Earlier on Wednesday, Johnson toured the Sydney Opera House ahead a bilateral meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.

On Thursday, Johnson and Bishop will be joined by British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon and Australian Defense Minister Maris Payne for annual talks.

Australian officials said Thursday's meeting would focus on counterterrorism, Europe's future and the threat posed by North Korea, as well as British and Australian military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Johnson arrived in Sydney on Tuesday after visits to Japan and New Zealand.

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