MPs are proposing visa-free travel and permit-free work for skilled workers for up to six months in an attempt to challenge the post-Brexit immigration vacuum.
A new report revealed that the UK parliament’s science and technology committee is claiming that government delays in confirming how an immigration system will function after withdrawing from the EU is “deeply damaging” for the science and innovation community in the UK.
The cross-party MPs on the committee said they were disappointed the government had failed to “bring forward its conclusion in relation to the immigration arrangements needed to support science and innovation” in its previous report.
In reaction to the government’s lack of response, the committee have developed their own immigration proposal, recommending that ministers establish visa-free and permit-free work for a maximum of 180 days for skilled workers. They are particularly concerned about the eligibility for the Tier 1 visa designed for migrants with endorsed “exceptional talents”, known as the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa.
The committee recommends that eligibility and proof of intent to leave after the 180 days would be verified at the border, and those arriving through the proposed scheme would require a letter from their UK employer describing the nature of the skilled work.
As for long-term migration, the committee proposed five-year skilled work permits.
This route would be open to anyone with a job offer or third-party sponsorship, and a minimum salary reflecting the “going rate” for the role.
The committee chair and Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb said: “If the UK wishes to remain open and attractive to the brightest and best global talent following Brexit, it requires an immigration system that allows researchers, technicians, students and innovative entrepreneurs to arrive and work in the UK without facing a burdensome and daunting process”.
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