UK visas are causing problems in the academic world, and not just when it comes to the complicated tier 2 work permit. Recently, countless media stories have begun to demonstrate the challenges that foreign academics face when attempting to attend international conferences in the UK. If industry leaders continue to struggle with UK visas, the British scientific sector may suffer after Brexit.
According to the Wellcome Trust, which provides science leaders with over £1 billion in funding for research each year said that the immigration system is not good enough after another scientific summit in the UK was recently harmed by the visa barriers that speakers faced.
An assistant psychiatry professor at the Sudan International University, Dr. Mohamed Alnor was unable to access the UK for the World Congress of Psychiatric Genetics in October, despite paying more than £1,890 in fees.
In a similar immigration UK issue, Chinese neuropsychiatrist Chenxing Liu from the University of Melbourne wasn't able to deliver a presentation on schizophrenia and evolution at the event because he wasn't able to get a visa in time. Delays related to UK visas also prevented Bittianda Kuttapa Thelma from the Delhi University from attending the conference.
Issues with UK visas and UK work permit hiccups have been common in the news lately, particularly around the area of academics. Recently, a number of foreign scholars were unable to access a global symposium on health hosted in Liverpool at the beginning of October, causing the World Health Organization to speak up against the challenges.
Additionally, a study published in September 2018 showed that a quarter of the Asian and African researchers invited into the UK had suffered problems with visas - this number is three times greater than in any European country.
The Wellcome head of UK and EU policy, Beth Thompson also released a statement about the consistent issues with UK visas, saying that the country does not have the right immigration system in place anymore to allow for "great science."
The current system is apparently causing problems for researchers outside of Europe who want to share their ideas in conferences around the world. Experts worry that today's issues could continue to worsen after Brexit.