Changes to non-EU visa regulations good for science
The campaign for science and engineering has welcomed the announcement that doctors and nurses will be exempt from immigration quotas as a major step forward for scientists and engineers.
On Friday, the Home Office is expected to confirm that foreign doctors and nurses will be excluded from the government's visa cap which sets a limit for all non-EU skilled workers at 20,700 people a year. The changes to tier-2 visas could free-up spaces for IT specialists and engineers.
Executive Director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE), Dr Sarah Main, said: “I am delighted that the Government is taking a positive and pragmatic approach to this issue. It will relieve the immediate crisis that has caused thousands of engineers, tech and IT specialists, as well as doctors, to be turned away from the UK in recent months."
Investigations by CaSE over the last few months have revealed the full extent of the problem that these restrictions have caused. Following multiple failed attempts to request data on the Tier 2 cap via Parliamentary Questions, CaSE submitted a Freedom of Information request asking to detail the number of visa applications that were refused in each month from December, to be broken down by occupation of refused applicants. When the request was answered, it revealed that over 6,000 visa applications had been refused between December and March because the Government-imposed cap had been reached in each month.
"Government must learn the lessons of the last few months and ensure that a post-Brexit migration system for a Global Britain supports research and innovation and does not feature a cap on the international specialists we want to attract," said Dr Main. “For the UK to be a research and innovation leader, as the Prime Minister wants, we need a streamlined, proportionate migration system along with a global charm offensive to attract the most talented people to the UK."