Sanwar Ali on Boris Johnson UK visa system for Scientists?

By Sanwar Ali

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson says that he wants to make sure that the UK visa system attracts ‘the very best minds from around the world’.  He says that he wants more researchers and specialists working in science, engineering and technology.

What does this mean?  Will this be part of the cumbersome, expensive and bureaucratic Tier 2 visa and Tier 2 Sponsor Licence system that hardly anyone fully understands. Presumably not also part of the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa system that hardly anyone qualifies for.

Boris Johnson wants the new system to be launched later this year, and has asked UK Visa and Immigration at the Home Office and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to work with the scientific community to develop the new visa route.

Charity and Research Institute The Wellcome Trust concerns over Brexit

Top charity and Research Institute The Wellcome Trust had expressed concern that a no-deal Brexit would do great harm to the science sector.    Wellcome Trust chairwoman Baroness Eliza Manningham-Buller had the following to say.

“I am afraid that some damage has already been done, with loss of researchers and influence”.

Boris Johnson also had the following to say:

‘Britain has a proud history of innovation, with home-grown inventions spanning from the humble bicycle to the lightbulb. ‘We were home to the world’s first national DNA database, we discovered graphene, and our cutting-edge scientists should be proud to follow in the footsteps of titans like Ada Lovelace and Nobel Laureates Francis Crick and Peter Higgs.

Continuing uncertainty over No-Deal Brexit and UK Visa System:

Boris Johnson insists that he wants a deal on Brexit with the European Union.  There is continuing uncertainty over how this will happen.  The European Union does not want to change the potential deal on Brexit.  The UK Parliament seems to be unwilling to agree on the deal that is currently on the table.

No-Deal Brexit may turn out to be politically unacceptable.  So Boris Johnson will then have the option of staying in the EU or asking for more time to reach a deal on Brexit.  From a practical point of view even if you have a deal on Brexit soon, is there really enough time to meet all the legal requirements to implement it by the deadline of 31 October 2019?

UK Visa System for Scientists and Researchers needs to be a new system

If there is a deal on Brexit this may not be that urgent.  Presumably there will be a long transitional period.  As planning for a no-Deal Brexit there needs to be a fast, simple, reasonably priced UK visa system to bring in people into the UK.  Not the current UK visa system that almost seems to be designed to catch people out so that many people are refused visas.  The UK visa system is probably amongst the most expensive in the World which makes it unaffordable for many visa applicants and businesses.  There also needs to be a system to allow in lower skilled people as well.

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