Science and finance sectors worried about new UK visa cap

by Ray Clancy on November 26, 2010

Visa cap to UK affects major sectors

If you’re rich and ready to invest more than £5 million in Britain you are welcome in the UK but talented young scientists will struggle under new immigration rules, it is claimed.

The science community is hitting out at the new immigration rules which will see Tier One Migrant Visas, which are currently issued to highly skilled staff meeting certain criteria, abolished next April and replace with an exceptional talent category for individuals in fields such as the arts and science but is limited to just 1,000 visas.

According to the Campaign for Science and Engineering about a seventh of science and engineering academics in UK universities in the UK are from outside the European Union and they are vital for the future of the industry as they do more than just train the next generation of British researchers in terms of contributing to the country’s science base and boosting industrial competitiveness.

Many believe that the cap in immigration from outside the EU will be disastrous for science. Institutions warn that it is not clear how restrictions on exceptional talent will affect their recruitment of faculty and other senior scientists because they have no idea how intense the competition will be for the places available.

Young scientists applying for visas may face serious difficulties because their incomes are often so low. Previously an MBA or a £150,000 salary guaranteed enough points to secure a visa, but a PhD scientist on a typical academic salary fell short. Scientists are concerned that the government will fail to address this disparity under the new scheme. A further problem is that scientists are awarded three-year visas for posts that can last much longer, forcing institutes to use two consecutive visas for each researcher.

It will cause difficulties for people who are already in the UK, according to Catherine Marston, policy adviser at the Universities and Colleges Union.

The financial sector is also concerned as from April 2011 anyone joining a UK bank from outside of the European Union will have to apply for a Tier Two General Visa which is being limited to 20,700, a cut of 20%.

Some are warning that there will not be enough visas to go round. ‘It’s not clear whether the new arrangements will apply to people who are already in the country and are switching jobs. If it does, it could clearly restrict movement,’ said Tony Haque from law firm Baker & McKenzie.

Those thinking of applying to do MBAs or degrees in finance will also be affected, as students will no longer be able to remain in the UK following the completion of their course, which may result in some looking elsewhere.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: