The United Kingdom has announced a new fast-track visa scheme for researchers called the Global Talent Scheme.
The scheme, which will be launched February 20, 2019, weeks after Brexit, puts no cap on the maximum that can apply, and it will be managed by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI). The scheme will replace the Home Office-run Exceptional Talent which limited number of applications at 2,000 per year, although the cap was never hit.
The government said that as part of efforts to reduce bureaucracy, the UKRI would simplify the process for applying for research grants by removing the “unnecessary” sections of grant applications requiring researchers to predict the impact of their work.
Research visa applicants are likely to increase after the UK leaves the European Union since EU researchers are expected to need visas to work in the country after freedom of movement ends.
The UK is set to leave the EU on January 31.
UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said that as the UK left the EU he wanted “to send a message that the UK is open to the most talented minds in the world, and stand ready to support them to turn their ideas into reality”.
Details of the new scheme
The new scheme, according to ministers, would:
- Double the number of eligible fellowships.
- Fast-track the application process.
- Require individuals to hold a job offer before applying
- Would not tie applicants to one specific job
- Provide an “accelerated path” to settled status for researchers who are endorsed on the route
- Provide an exemption from absences rules for researchers and dependants when they are required to go overseas for work-related purposes
Time Higher Education also reports that ministers also announced a £300 million investment to fund “experimental and imaginative” mathematical sciences research.
“In a move which will be seen as demonstrating the influence of Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s most senior adviser, around £60 million will be made available annually, doubling funding for new PhDs and increasing support for maths fellowships and research projects”, the report said.