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Global Britain to attract more top scientists with fast tracked entry

More top scientists and researchers are to be given fast tracked entry to the UK #WeAreInternational

The Home Secretary has announced that the number of eligible fellowships which can offer accelerated endorsement for visas for scientists wanting to conduct research in the UK will double from 62 to over 120.

This builds on the announcement made by the Prime Minister in August 2019, which outlined how a wider pool of world leading scientists and researchers will be able to benefit from a fast-track process to obtain entry into the UK.

In line with the current process, individuals who receive these fellowships will only need to provide a letter from the relevant funding organisation, which will see them fast-tracked to the Home Office / UKVI visa application stage where immigration checks will be carried out.

This will ensure that world leading scientists can come to the UK as soon as possible to begin their innovative work.

The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said:

The UK is already a world leader in science, with some of the most exciting and innovative research being undertaken here in this country.

We want to make sure the UK continues to be at the forefront of innovation, so we need an immigration system that attracts the sharpest minds from around the globe.

As part of this ambitious plan, we are taking decisive action to boost the number of top scientists and elite researchers who can benefit from fast-tracked entry into the UK.

Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said:

We want the UK to be a global science superpower, and continuing to attract the world’s top scientists and researchers to join us in the race to solve the great challenges of the future – from clean energy and advanced storage to solving antibiotic resistance – is an important part of realising that ambition.

Ben Moore, policy analyst at the Russell Group, said:

Today’s announcement shows this Government is serious about reforming the immigration system to ensure the country can attract leading international talent.

The next step will be to allow universities to recruit all staff essential to research, including early-career researchers and laboratory technicians, through the planned Global Talent visa and new points-based system.

Responding to the Home Secretary’s announcement that the number of eligible fellowships which can offer accelerated endorsement for visas for scientists wanting to conduct research in the UK will double from 62 to more than 120, Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said:

We share the government’s aim to build on the UK’s position as a global science and research superpower. This welcome announcement will help attract the brightest and best research stars to the UK at a time when our place on the world stage is changing.

Combined with the government’s commitment to invest into research funding and ensure we meet the 2.4% target by 2027, this will support universities to preserve the UK’s world-leading reputation for research.

We look forward to working with government on wider reforms to ensure that our universities remain as attractive as possible to international talent, and that the benefits are felt across the UK.

Organisations joining the expanded list include world renowned research fellowships such as Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, Human Frontier Science, European Research Council and the European Molecular Biology Organization. A number of additional awards from UK Research and Innovation and its research councils will also be added, allowing the UK to attract a wide range of elite researchers and specialists.

The revised list of fellowships will be added to the existing Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route, which is the beginning of a wider package of measures to welcome the brightest and best researchers to the UK.

As announced in August 2019, the Home Office will be bringing forward the plans to abolish the cap on the numbers under the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route and an accelerated path to settlement who arrive under this scheme. The Home Office is working to implement these changes early in the New Year.

The full fellowships list will be published in due course. The current fellowships list is available.

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