The Chancellor has announced two important new measures for international scientists and researchers in the UK.
In his 13 March 2019 Spring Statement, the Chancellor made the following announcement:
‘Scientists and researchers – From Autumn 2019, PhD-level occupations will be exempt from the Tier 2 (General) cap, and at the same time the government will update the immigration rules on 180-day absences so that researchers conducting fieldwork overseas are not penalised if they apply to settle in the UK.’
Although PhD-level occupations have always been prioritised in the monthly Restricted CoS cycle, their removal from the allocation system should enable more non-PhD-level roles to make it through.
At this stage, it is not clear exactly which roles will benefit from the further announcement that, when calculating their absences for ILR applications, researchers will not need to take into account fieldwork conducted overseas. This will however also be welcome news as the current rules on absences are extremely restrictive.
We will provide an update on the specific detail once the relevant legal changes are announced.