Tier 2 work permit cap 'to favour researchers'

18 Feb 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The upcoming changes to Tier 2 work permits will favour scientific researchers, it has been claimed.

An annual limit of 20,700 UK work permits will be divided into monthly allocations under the new UK immigration cap, which comes into effect at the beginning of April.

Once the monthly allocation is used up no further work permits will be allocated, while any surplus allocation will be carried over to the next month.

However, certain professions are to be prioritised over others when it comes to the allocation of the Tier 2 work permits.

While the list is regularly updated to account for change in demand, it currently includes positions in medical physics and geophysics.

PhD-level positions and above tend to be favoured in particular, with higher salaries again pushing applicants further up the list of preferential candidates for Tier 2 work permits.

Beth Taylor, director of communications at the Institute of Physics, told Physics World: "We are very pleased with the outcome.

"[The changes] include the two main safeguards we were hoping for: striking a better balance between qualifications and salary, so that applicants with PhD status will be on a par with those earning higher salaries; and awarding more points in shortage areas, including physics."

Imran Kahn issued a similar view, praising the fact that the changes to the work permit system address the previous perceived discrimination against top scientists and engineers in favour of "wealthy investors and Premier league footballers".