Boris Johnson unveils fast-track visa plans

The new visa would be designed for scientists

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Boris Johnson has announced plans for a fast-track visa pathway for foreign scientists in a bid to boost the UK’s research sector after Brexit.

The Prime Minister said he wanted to ensure Britain’s immigration system attracted “the very best minds from around the world”.

“Britain has a proud history of innovation, with home-grown inventions spanning from the humble bicycle to the lightbulb,” he said.

“But to ensure we continue to lead the way in the advancement of knowledge, we have to not only support the talent that we already have here, but also ensure our immigration system attracts the very best minds from around the world.”

The immigration route will be designed to encourage researchers and specialists in science, engineering and technology to live and work in the UK.

The government is expected to consider creating an accelerated path to settlement and removing the need for those in scientific fields to hold an offer of employment before arriving in Britain.

Mr Johnson said: “When we leave the EU we will support science and research and ensure that, far from losing out, the scientific community has a huge opportunity to develop and export our innovation around the world.”

Last month medical research charity Wellcome Trust warned a no-deal Brexit would threaten innovation.

Chairwoman Baroness Eliza Manningham-Buller said some damage had already been done with the “loss of researchers and influence” due to Brexit uncertainty.

The government hopes to launch the new visa system later this year.

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