UK visa problems 'see universities miss out on talent'

24 Jan 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

UK visa restrictions mean that UK universities are missing out on candidates for top jobs who have been trained in Britain.

Angus Laing, dean of business and economics at Loughborough University, told the Financial Times that the country itself does not generate enough PhDs to go into academia. However, he explained that there there are good applicants from overseas who are being denied positions due to problems with their UK work permit and visa applications.

Professor Laing explained to the paper that these graduates will instead head to institutions overseas where "visa restrictions are less onerous".

He referenced the case of one his graduating doctoral students, who was offered a lecturing position at a UK schools. The student, who is from outside of the European Union, has so far been unable to obtain a UK work permit required to accept the position.

The observations come as the coalition prepares to close its consultative period for student and employment visas. By April, it will enforce the new restrictions on UK work permits and visas, limiting the number of Tier 1 and Tier 2 work permit applicants in the country.

Meanwhile, Sharon Bamford, chief executive of the Association of MBAs in London, backed Professor Laing's remarks and criticised the effect that these decisions will eventually have on business in the UK. The move to restrict overseas students' applications for work permits will be "detrimental in the long term to the UK", she stated.

The chief executive explained that this is because these ambitious and skilled people will get jobs elsewhere and "when they are doing business, they won't look at the UK", adding "how can we be a competitive nation if we are so inward-looking?"