Today, the British Society for Immunology has co-signed a statement from organisations across the science and research sector calling on the Government to make sure that costly visas are not a barrier to the UK being an attractive destination for scientific talent from around the world.
This comes as the Government moves its Immigration Bill through Parliament. Following the 2020 Budget’s historic commitment to increase public funding of UK R&D to £22 billion by 2024-25 to meet the target of 2.4% GDP funding for UK R&D, we must now ensure that, following our departure from the European Union, the UK is able to continue its rich history of international scientific collaboration.
In order to compete with other leading scientific nations, we are urging the Government to review visa costs. At the moment, the total average upfront cost for a Tier 2 skilled worker visa – taking the costs to the researcher and their employer together – is £8,419, 540% higher than the average cost in other leading scientific nations (£1,316). And while we should aim to retain global talent once here, a researcher with a family of four faces nearly £10,000 of fees if they want to apply for indefinite leave to remain.
We need therefore, to ensure that at a time of record-level investment in science and research, that our immigration system does not hinder the UK realising its potential.