26 November 2010

UK immigration policy is bad for scientists, say experts

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Experts have warned that scientific institutions in Britain may struggle to attract the best researchers from overseas under the government's immigration policy.

UK Visa

The new UK Visa and immigration policy is hard on scientists, experts have said.

The UK Government announced significant changes to the UK Immigration system this week, including the removal of the Tier 1 UK Visa (General) category and a focus on entrepreneurial and “exceptional talent” streams under the tier.
 
Young scientists may face serious difficulties to obtain a visa to study or work on research projects in the UK because their incomes are often low, which means fewer points under the immigration system to qualify for a UK Visa.

If they do obtain a visa, foreign scientists who take up postgraduate jobs are permitted to stay only three years on a single visa and so face the uncertainly of their visa expiring before the complete their research.  The average post doctorate lasts four or five years, so two visas would have to be obtained for each researcher.

The immigration changes announced this week allows senior scientists into the country under a new "exceptional talent" category that is capped at an annual limit of 1,000 visas. Graduate scientists can also apply for Tier 2 visas, if they already have a job offer. These Tier 2 visas are limited to 20,700 visas. 


The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their  UK immigration applications to the British High Commission.


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