Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently announced some positive changes to the UK work permit system for top scientists and researchers this week. According to the latest reports, Johnson will be abolishing the tier 2 work permit restrictions that would stop scientific experts from entering the country following a no-deal Brexit.
The Prime Minister claims that he will be instructing the Department for Industrial Strategy, Energy, and Business to work with the Home Office on a new plan that eases immigration UK strategies for scientists. Those defined as "scientists" according to Boris Johnson include those based at prestigious companies, and promising students alike.
Sources from Downing Street suggest that Johnson is making this motion in an attempt to overcome the various concerns that have been raised about the strict restrictions on the UK work permit rules imposed by Theresa May over the last few years. However, the proposed new criteria for the visas remain relatively vague. Johnson has said that he wants the immigration system to make the UK a more compelling location for scientists. However details are spotty at best.
Aside from reducing the cap on the tier 2 work permit salary threshold, other measures that Boris could take to support scientists in the years ahead could include abolishing the cap on the number of available tier 1 visas for the country. These UK visas allow people to enter the UK if they have "exceptional talent" to offer. Other options could include expanding the number of universities and research facilities in the country that are capable of endorsing candidates who want to live and work in the UK.
Interestingly, Johnson's decision to make the UK more accessible to scientists comes at a time when new Home Secretary Priti Patel is being asked to hike the tier 2 work permit cap to an even higher rate of 36k per year, following demands from the Centre for Social Justice.