The government in the UK has announced the arrival of a new fast-track UK work permit for researchers in scientific fields, with no cap on the maximum number of people who can apply. The updated UK visa will launch in February as part of the Global Talent Scheme. This UK work permit will be managed by the UKRI, rather than the Home Office. It will be available instead of the exceptional talent route to give people a pathway into the UK after Brexit.
The Exceptional Talent route had been capped at 2,000 places per year. However, this new strategy that will come into effect from the 20th of February has no cap at all. Though the scheme for Exceptional Talent didn’t hit its cap, the demand is much likely to be higher after Brexit, as EU researchers will need UK visas continue working in the country after the freedom of movement ends.
Ministers in the UK government have said that the new scheme will double the number of fellowships that will permit applicants to be fast-tracked. The UK work permit for research and innovation will not require people to hold a job offer before they apply, and they will not be tied to a specific job. There will also be an accelerated path to the UK available to researchers that want to achieve settled status. Researchers with endorsements will have an exemption from absences rules when they’re required to visit overseas locations for work.
Prime minister Boris Johnson said that the new strategy is designed to attract more of the best minds of the world into the country. Alongside the new UK work permit announcements, ministers said that UKRI will be simplifying the process to apply for research grants too. Ministers have also announced a £300 million investment for the support of imaginative and experimental research in mathematical sciences.