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What’s behind the Prime Minister‘s new proposal for a supercharged scientist Visa scheme?

On a recent trip to a UK-based scientific fusion centre, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced plans for a new visa scheme that would, in his words, “Attract new scientists like iron filings“. Colourful language aside, immigration solicitors will be seeking clarification as to how this new Visa scheme would work.

Picking through the BBC News report, the following bullet points emerged from the reporting on the issue of policy:

Perhaps the most significant reference is that the current tier 1 migrant scheme being scrapped, Although this section in the reporting refers to the highly skilled migrant program, it seems more likely that it is referring to the exceptional talent scheme, with its reference to 2000 applicants being granted per year.

1. More importantly, it seems sensible if there is to be a new Australian style points based system, that there is a closing of existing routes, but the point about a comprehensive review of the system is that it is replaced by a comprehensive new system, not a piecemeal introduction of individual schemes to meet individual goals. It seems less sensible to introduce a programme for scientists when we need a comprehensive system for scientists, sportspeople, entrepreneurs, investors, students, business visitors, innovators, skilled staff, and skilled staff, temporary work placements, sales visits, and the list goes on.

2. What can also be gleaned from the reports is that all sides are seeking some form of streamlined endorsement, whilst this sounds grand in theory, It should be noted that endorsements are not undertaken by the Home Office they are undertaken by third parties and this again falls into the category of immigration checks being done by third parties that are not Home Office officials which has already cause problems elsewhere.

3. But the big issue here is Brexit, how could it not be? The scientific community in the UK has been consistent and vehement in its view that Brexit will be quite simply bad for British science, technology and innovation. The only thing worse than a post-Brexit Britain For UK science is a post Brexit Britain with no deal.

4. It seems fairly clear that a proposal piecemeal about science and scientific Visas Is only being announced now to head off concerns that the public may have that the UK is not ready for a post no Deal industry. The timing looks suspicious especially when you have already committed to a comprehensive overhaul of the immigration system.

5. We hope for better in the future. Westkin are immigration lawyers in London with a focus on business visas – call us for more guidance.

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