BRITISH prime minister Boris Johnson has announced plans to introduce a new fast-track visa route for the brightest and best in a bid to attract the world’s top scientists to the UK after October 31 when the country leaves the European Union (EU).
In defiance of the EU, Mr Johnson has said that Brexit will happen with or without a deal on October 31 even if means the UK having to relate to the EU like a developing nations. This will mean that there will no longer be free movement if citizens into and out of the UK from Europe, which could present a serious manpower shortage in certain areas.
To ameliorate the effects of this, Mr Johnson wants to introduce a two-tier visa programme that will encourage elite researchers and specialists in science, engineering and technology to migrate to the UK. In what will require changes to the UK’s very tight and robust immigration laws, this will mean allowing brilliant minds from developing nations into the country under a fast track programme.
Mr Johnson said: “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. I want the UK to continue to be a global science superpower and when we leave the EU we will support science and research.
“Far from losing out, the scientific community has a huge opportunity to develop and export our innovation around the world.” He made the declaration during a visit to a science centre in Oxfordshire in central England, as well as in a Facebook live video.
In addition, Mr Johnson has pledged to pursue an Australia-style points-based immigration system to attract more highly-skilled workers after Brexit. He added that Britain’s Home Office and department for business will work with the scientific community to develop the new system, planned for later this year.
Abolishing the cap on the number of top-tier immigrants giving out exceptional talent visas and expanding the pool of research institutes and universities are all new measures that would be considered. Officials will also look at removing the need to hold an offer of employment before arriving and an accelerated path to settlement, for certain qualified candidates.