Global Talent visa met with mixed reviews
The government will introduce a Global Talent visa targeted at scientists, mathematicians and researchers in February this year.
The scheme will be managed by the UK Research and Innovation Agency who fund government research, and not the Home Office.
It is hoped that this will allow for applicants to be fast tracked with greater ease.
At present, EU researchers make up around half of the UK’s scientific workforce of 211,000 people.
Visas are not required to work in British laboratories at present; however, it is anticipated that freedom of movement between the EU and UK will end following the Brexit transition period at the end of the year.
Prime minister Boris Johnson believes that the visa will demonstrate "that the UK is open to the most talented minds in the world".
He continued that the United Kingdom "has a proud history of scientific discovery, but to lead the field and face the challenges of the future we need to continue to invest in talent and cutting-edge research".
Priti Patel, the home secretary, hopes that the new route will increase the number of researchers entering the UK.
The Global Talent visa is not currently capped, compared with the scheme it replaces which was capped at 2,000 individuals in any given year.
President of the Royal Society, Professor Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, considers that the scheme “sends out a positive message that the UK is committed to remaining open to overseas science talent who would collaborate with our outstanding home-grown minds.”
The Lib Dems and Labour party have voiced concerns that the plan does not go far enough.
Home affairs spokesperson for the Lib Dems, Christine Jardine, said "Changing the name of a visa and removing a cap that's never been hit is not a serious plan.”
In January 2021 the government is expected to introduce an Australian-style points-based system for those moving from the EU to the UK.
Chi Onwurah, shadow spokesperson for industrial support, stated that “Ending the Erasmus scheme, denying visas to scientists from Africa and Asia, imposing a minimum salary of £30,000, these all adversely affect the richness and quality of our scientific base."