By Adedapo Adesanya
The United Kingdom (UK) has announced a new fast-track visa scheme for scientists and researchers as it prepares a new immigration system in preparation for its exit from the European Union (EU) on January 31.
The new system, which is set to start from February 20, was announced ahead of the departure from the EU on Friday and will be open to those who work in the qualifying fields and who have been recommended by a recognised UK body such as the Royal Society, or the Royal Academy of Engineering.
According to the Prime Minister, Mr Boris Johnson, the Global Talent route will replace the existing Tier One visa for highly skilled migrants. Places under Tier One were capped at 2,000 per year, but that limit was never reached.
The Global Talent visa will now allow research and technical staff from around the world to come and work in the UK. This means that the new visa course will have no cap on the number of people able to go to the UK under the program when it starts next month.
“The UK has a proud history of scientific discovery, but to lead the field and face the challenges of the future we need to continue to invest in talent and cutting-edge research.
“That is why as we leave the EU, I want to send a message that the UK is open to the most talented minds in the world, and stand ready to support them to turn their ideas into reality,” Mr Johnson said.
It was also disclosed that the EU free movement will continue for 11 months after Brexit during a transition period designed to allow the United Kingdom and the EU to agree a new future partnership.
Government hopes to introduce a new points-based immigration system on January 1, 2021, for EU and non-EU citizens, but the details are still being worked out.
It also unveiled an extra $392 million (356 million euros, £300 million) to fund experimental and imaginative mathematical sciences research over the next five years.
After Brexit, EU citizens will lose the automatic right to live and work in the UK and also British citizens won’t be able to automatically work and reside in the remaining 27 nations that make up the union.
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