Brexit: Boris Johnson to create fast-track visa route for foreign scientists

August 9, 2019

A new fast-track visa route will be created for foreign scientists coming to the UK to boost the science sector. The fast-track immigration route will be designed to attract researchers and specialists working in science, engineering and technology.

Boris Johnson has commented that he wants to ensure the UK attracts “the very best minds from around the world” explaining “Britain has a proud history of innovation, with home-grown inventions spanning from the humble bicycle to the lightbulb. But to ensure we continue to lead the way in the advancement of knowledge, we have to not only support the talent that we already have here, but also ensure our immigration system attracts the very best minds from around the world.”

EU researchers account for around half of the total UK scientific workforce at 211,000. Currently, EU researchers don’t need visas to work in British labs. Non-EEA nationals currently need to go through a rigorous process decided by the Home Office. The process is often time consuming and expensive.

The PM plans to scrap the cap on Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visas for highly skilled migrants with the current limit set at 2,000 a year. Other potential changes include expanding the pool of British research institutions that can endorse immigration candidates and creating criteria that confers automatic endorsement, subject to immigration checks. The government will also look at ensuring workers’ dependants have full access to the labour market, removing the need to hold an offer of employment before arriving and providing an accelerated path to settlement.

This article has been produced for general information purposes and further advice should be sought from a professional advisor. Immigration is a complex area of law for both corporates and individuals.  Please contact our Business Immigration / Employment Team at Cleaver Fulton Rankin for further advice or information.

Conor McCrory, Associate, Immigration Law Team, Cleaver Fulton Rankin, Solicitors.