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UK Global Talent Visa for Prize Winners Failure

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By Sanwar Ali:

The prestigious prize fast track version of the UK Global Talent visa scheme, launched with the aim of attracting the world's most accomplished individuals in a variety of fields to Britain, has only had three applicants. This article will delve into the reasons behind the lackluster results, examining the system's structure, the government's strategy, and the broader issues at hand.

I. Introduction to the Global Talent Visa Scheme

The fast track version of the Global Talent visa for major award winners was introduced in May 2021 as part of the UK government's post-Brexit immigration strategy. The fast-track visa route was designed to draw globally recognized talents in sciences, humanities, engineering, the arts and digital technology to the UK.

Eligibility for the scheme is for laureates of esteemed awards like the Nobel Prize in various disciplines, the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, the Fields Medal, the Turing Award, and to those who have achieved excellence in music, film, TV, theatre, arts and literature.

II. The Government's Expectations from the Scheme

When the Global Talent visa was launched, the then-home secretary Priti Patel had expressed high hopes. According to her, the scheme was an integral part of the new point-based immigration system designed for attracting the best and brightest, based on their skills and talents, irrespective of their origin.

Award-winners, having reached the pinnacle of their careers, have much to offer the UK. The scheme would provide them with the freedom to work in the UK's leading industries as the nation bounced back from the impacts of the pandemic.

III. The Reality: A Dismal Response to the Scheme

Despite the government's optimistic projections, the response to the prestigious prize Global Talent visa scheme has been disappointing. Over two years, only three applications have been received, all of which were approved. Two of these applications were in 2022, with the third one being submitted in 2023.

IV. The Underlying Issues with the Scheme

Experts have pointed out that the government's failure lies in their misunderstanding of what it takes to attract global academic talent to the UK. According to Mike Galsworthy, Chair of European Movement UK and director of the campaign group Scientists for EU, attracting global talent is not about merely opening doors. It’s about creating an environment that genuinely makes global talent wish to come to your country, with political dimensions playing a significant role.

V. The Deeper Implications of the Scheme's Failure

The failure of the prestigious prize Global Talent visa scheme is not just about the lack of applicants. It reflects a broader issue with the government's approach to immigration and talent attraction. The government has been criticized for its handling of the Erasmus+ program, its indecision regarding the UK's membership in Horizon Europe, and its contentious stance towards UK universities.

VI. The Impact of Immigration Policies on the UK's Appeal

The UK's immigration policies have been a source of concern for many. Recently, the immigration health surcharge for adults was increased from £624 to £1,035. The discounted rate for students and under-18s also increased from £470 to £776. These changes have been seen as a deterrent for global talent considering the UK as a potential destination.

VII. The Public Sentiment Towards Immigration and Living in the UK

The issue is not limited to attracting talent; retention has also become a problem. In a recent poll, 45% of respondents stated that they would choose to leave Britain and live abroad if given the chance. This sentiment is indicative of a broader dissatisfaction with the state of the nation.

VIII. Comparisons with Other Immigration Routes

Despite the dismal response to the prestigious prize Global Talent visa scheme, other immigration routes have seen a rise in applications. The wider Global Talent route saw 6,067 applicants in the 12 months prior to March 2023, a significant increase from the 3,688 applications in the preceding 12-month period.

IX. The Future of the Global Talent Visa Scheme

The future of the prestigious prize Global Talent visa scheme remains uncertain. While the government has not indicated any plans to revise the scheme, it is clear that a new approach is needed to attract and retain global talent in the UK. The current situation serves as a stark reminder that attracting global talent is about more than just opening doors - it's about creating a welcoming environment that allows these talents to thrive.

X. Conclusion

The prestigious prize Global Talent visa scheme was an ambitious initiative aimed at attracting the world's best and brightest to the UK. However, its lackluster performance highlights the government's misunderstanding of what attracts global talent.

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