The Government has announced new plans to attract, retain and develop top talent in a move designed to enhance the UK’s reputation as a leading science and research superpower.
Plans include the establishment of a new Office for Talent and enhancements to the UK’s visa offerings aimed at talented individuals.
The press release dated 1 July 2020 states that:
‘The Office will begin work immediately to review the effectiveness of the current rules and ensure excellent customer service across the immigration system, so that it is simple, easy, and quick. They will also help those coming to the UK better understand the opportunities on offer and break down any barriers they might face.’
The new graduate route will be enhanced to allow international students who complete a PhD from the Summer of 2021 to remain in the UK, and be able to work, for three years. This builds on plans that will allow students who have completed an undergraduate or master’s degree to remain, with work rights, for two years.
There are also plans to enhance the student route, including removing study time limits at postgraduate level, allowing students to switch to another type of visa from inside the UK and extending the window in which student visa applications can be made.
The announcement also confirms that the global talent scheme will be enhanced and opened up to EU citizens (although this is actually less beneficial than their current free movement rights…)
Nichola Carter, head of immigration at Carter Thomas, said:
‘Talent’ is the new ‘highly skilled’ when it comes to migration. It is crucial that those who choose to study, work and invest in the UK, amidst fierce global competition, feel welcome and confident that the new immigration system is, and will remain, on their side. The latest plans are welcome news, especially for the education sector, recovering from a decade of damaging restrictions on student migration. We look forward to seeing new Immigration Rules that do, in practice, reflect these ambitious statements, help visa applicants break down barriers and end the practice of deliberately seeking to catch people out.’