UK chief scientific adviser on swift research visas post-Brexit

Government Office for Science, London, UK.

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Scientists work at lab benches at the Francis Crick Institute

A significant proportion of the scientists at the Francis Crick Institute in London come from the European Union.Credit: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg/Getty

As the UK government’s chief scientific adviser, I welcome the announcement of a new fast-track immigration scheme for researchers to help ensure that the United Kingdom remains a top destination for scientific talent after it leaves the European Union later this year. The scheme — which is being incorporated within a reformed and rebranded Global Talent Route — will go live on 20 February.

The fast-track scheme applies to all eligible overseas researchers and their team members who receive peer-reviewed grants from recognized funding bodies. The national funding agency, UK Research and Innovation, will oversee the eligibility of funding bodies and establish a new criterion for automatic endorsement. Dependants will continue to have full access to the labour market. There will also be an accelerated path to settlement. There is no cap on the number of researchers who can benefit.

The scheme will allow UK-based researchers to recruit overseas talent to their teams. Attracting the best international scientists at all career stages is an important part of the government’s strategy to boost research and development. This first phase of changes goes a long way towards ensuring that the United Kingdom remains a global leader in science excellence.

Nature 577, 622 (2020)

doi: 10.1038/d41586-020-00185-3

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