Continued speculation surrounds potential changes to the immigration rules at the initiative of the newly elected Prime Minister, Boris Johnson. Together with his cabinet, the Prime Minister is seeking to scrap the cap on Tier 1 visas for highly skilled migrants. The limit on Tier 1 visas currently stands at 2,000 a year. However, this will change due to Boris Johnson’s desire to attract leading scientists in their field to the UK. He has stated that he ‘wanted to see a greater degree of openness to scientific top talent from around the world’, which includes making the system easier for scientists and their families to migrate to the UK.
Due to the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, many new applicants from EU countries will have to go through a rigorous process rolled out by the Home Office. The Prime Minister is seeking to simplify the system by reducing limitations on exceptionally talented individuals within the field of science, to enable them to work in the UK in the Tier 1 category.
There has been encouragement for more research institutes and Universities to endorse such candidates. It is hoped, therefore, that the industry will see an increase in the number of leading scientists applying for and receiving Tier 1 visas. Both the Home Office and the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy will be involved in preparing this new visa process.
Much has been made of the apprehension surrounding the prospect of a no-deal Brexit. Scientists fear that EU candidates could consequently face difficulties in working and residing in the UK, which would be to the UK’s detriment. The Prime Minister has responded by pledging to continue the UK’s collaboration with scientific projects in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
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