New UK plan to fast-track visas for scientists, experts
The Boris Johnson government on Monday announced the expansion of the list of UK-based fellowships whose international holders such as scientists and experts will be extended a fast-track visa process, so that they can begin work as soon as possible.
This is one of the measures the Johnson government is taking in the near future to attract professionals and experts needed in the country, as the United Kingdom prepares to leave the European Union on January 31.
Home secretary Priti Patel said the number of eligible fellowships which can offer accelerated endorsement for visas for scientists wanting to conduct research in the UK will double from 62 to over 120 from early next year.
Officials said this builds on the announcement made by Johnson in August 2019, which outlined how a wider pool of world leading scientists and researchers will be able to benefit from a fast-track process to obtain entry into the UK.
Individuals who receive the fellowships will only need to provide a letter from the relevant funding organisation, which will see them fast-tracked to the Home Office / UKVI visa application stage where immigration checks will be carried out.
Patel, said: “The UK is already a world leader in science, with some of the most exciting and innovative research being undertaken here in this country. We want to make sure the UK continues to be at the forefront of innovation, so we need an immigration system that attracts the sharpest minds from around the globe”.
“As part of this ambitious plan, we are taking decisive action to boost the number of top scientists and elite researchers who can benefit from fast-tracked entry into the UK”.
Organisations joining the expanded list include world renowned research fellowships such as Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, Human Frontier Science, European Research Council and the European Molecular Biology Organization.
A number of additional awards from UK Research and Innovation and its research councils will also be added, allowing the UK to attract a wide range of elite researchers and specialists, officials added. The revised list will be added to the existing Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route.
The Home Office said it will be bringing forward plans to abolish the cap on the numbers under the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route and an accelerated path to settlement who arrive under this scheme.