New post-Brexit UK visa to attract scientists, researchers soon
As the United Kingdom prepares to leave the European Union on January 31, the Boris Johnson government has unveiled a new fast-track visa available from February 20 to attract the world’s top scientists, researchers and mathematicians.
Called the Global Talent route, the visa will replace the existing Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route. It will not have a cap on the number of people granted visa; applicants will not need to have a job offer in the UK; and it will allow absences from the UK as part of their work.
There will be some official pageantry to mark Brexit day on January 31, including a countdown clock projected on Downing Street and a special 50 pence coin, but little will change in practice until the end of the transition period on December 31.
Announcing the new visa, Johnson said it will continue to ensure dependents will be able to take up employment in the UK, and preserve the route’s flexibility by not requiring an individual to hold an offer of employment before arriving or tying them to one specific job.
It will also provide an accelerated path to settlement, and provide exemption absences for researchers, and their dependants, where they are required overseas for work-related purposes.
The UK Research and Innovation, the semi-government research and funding body, will endorse applicants from the scientific and research community.
Johnson said: “The UK has a proud history of scientific discovery, but to lead the field and face the challenges of the future we need to continue to invest in talent and cutting edge research”.
“That is why as we leave the EU I want to send a message that the UK is open to the most talented minds in the world, and stand ready to support them to turn their ideas into reality”.
However, Liberal Democrats’ home affairs spokeswoman Christine Jardine dismissed the announcement replacing the existing Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route as a “marketing gimmick”.
She said: “Boris Johnson is showing that he fundamentally doesn’t understand what makes our science sector so successful. Changing the name of a visa and removing a cap that’s never been hit is not a serious plan.”