The University and College Union of the UK has said that the escalating costs of applying for a UK work permit, along with other immigration charges is creating a dangerous environment for talent. The issues regarding the tier 2 work permit today is apparently discouraging qualified individuals from applying to work at UK universities. According to reports from the Financial Times, however, employees outside of the EU currently make up 13% of the academic staff at UK educational facilities.
The staff in a UK facility needs to have a tier 2 work permit to work, which comes with a number of associated fees – including £1,220 for a five-year application. According to the UCU, these fees also come with extra costs, like health surcharges for family members to think about. This means that it can end up costing more than £12,000 for a family of four to move to the UK for five years. If the UK wants to continue attracting the top talent to UK work permit positions within the academic world, it needs to update the visa strategy, according to the UCU.
The University and College Unit suggests that Britain needs to rethink the strategies that it has in place to allow for people to access a UK work permit in the current environment. For the country to remain competitive in research, the cost of requesting indefinite leave to remain in the UK may need to go down.
The UCU has even suggested that the universities that want to attract more talent from around the world should be willing to cover some of the fees associated with applying for a UK work permit.
However, universities in some parts of the UK are concerned that agreeing to cover fees would become an expensive strategy after Brexit. When the UK leaves the EU, European Union citizens would also be required to pay visa and other charges, making it even harder to access affordable talent.