Exceptional talent migrant route welcomed – mostly

The Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE), the UK’s leading independent scientific advocacy group, welcomed the Government’s announcement of an extra 1000 places for exceptionally talented immigrants, including scientists and engineers. However, CaSE cautioned that capping immigration is still inherently flawed.

CaSE campaigned vigorously against the immigration controls when they were first announced, sounding the alarm over the potential damage to UK science and engineering. Data shows that in some STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) subjects, over a quarter of the UK’s academic workforce originates from outside the EU, while employers consistently cite access to a global talent pool as one of the reasons investing in the UK is attractive.

CaSE Director Imran Khan said:

“This country has a centuries-old reputation as a global beacon for science and engineering. It’s important that the Government is sending a signal that the world’s best science and engineering minds are still welcome here, despite the imposition of a migrant cap.”

“We welcome the extra places allocated to the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering – however, the flaw in the Government’s plans is obvious: why should the UK have a limit on the number of ‘exceptionally talented’ people we can welcome? If we’re to be one of the best places in the world for research, we need to attract as much ‘exceptional talent’ as we can – it’s not rocket science.”

“I’m grateful that the Government has listened to our concerns, but remember that there’s no limit at all for wealthy investors, elite sportspeople, or religious ministers. Why have one for scientists and engineers?”


Notes to editors:

1. CaSE is the leading independent pressure group for the science and engineering sectors in the UK. Find out more at www.sciencecampaign.org.uk

2. A December 2010 briefing on the migrant cap, published by CaSE is available here: http://sciencecampaign.org.uk/?p=2503

3. The UKBA’s proposals can be found here: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/newsarticles/2011/july/31-t1-et

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