Senior figures from the world of science and engineering have today called for an urgent rethink on the Government’s proposals to drastically limit potential settlement rights for immigrants, warning that the changes could damage the UK’s science and engineering base.
The individuals, who include two former Presidents of the Royal Society and the current Director of the Wellcome Trust, have argued that special consideration needs to be given to the long-term nature of science and engineering research.
CaSE has organised a letter (£, or see below), published in today’s Times, which warns that Government proposals to drastically limit the settlement rights of migrants coming into the UK could seriously damage the country’s science and engineering base.
It comes a year after CaSE organised a first letter to the Times, signed by eight Nobel laureates, protesting against the government’s initial proposals for an immigration cap. For more details about CaSE’s work on this issue see here.
The new letter is signed by twenty individuals from across the science and engineering sector, ranging from industry to higher education, and includes two former Presidents of the Royal Society and the current Director of the country’s biggest research charity, the Wellcome Trust.
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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. Read More
Times Front Page on CaSE letter
The Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) today claimed that the Government’s new immigration rules represented a victory for the science and engineering sectors. The new proposals give significant rewards to applicants with science and engineering qualifications.
Academics, industrialists, and charity researchers had sounded the alarm over the coalition’s new ‘migrant cap’ for workers from outside the EU, having shown how important international mobility is for research and development.
Over one in seven academics in the UK higher education sector alone hail from outside the EU. In October eight Nobel laureates, including the new President of the Royal Society, signed a letter organised by CaSE saying that the UK “must not to isolate itself” from the global world of research.
The new proposals from the UK Border Agency mean that an applicant who has a PhD or equivalent level job offer, earning £23,000, would be preferred over someone earning £74,000 but who did not have a PhD-level job offer.
CaSE’s efforts in this area were recognised by the Conservative Immigration Minister Damian Green on BBC Radio 4′s Today programme.
Co-authored by James Lush, CaSE intern, and Imran Khan, CaSE Director
The Home Office’s plans to restrict student visas present some potentially damaging implications for UK science and engineering. CaSE has responded to the consultation, here is a summary of our concerns and suggestions.
The Government is planning to introduce tougher language tests for potential students. However, science and engineering are inherently international activities, with recognition based on academic merit.
CaSE continues to reject the idea of imposing limits on the number of talented scientists and engineers who can enter the UK. It seems that the Government has yet to accept the notion that the UK needs international talent more than international talent needs the UK.
However, within that context, CaSE feels that the Government proposals for reforming the immigration system are now moving in the right direction. If done correctly, we may be able to maintain the status quo, or even fulfil the Home Secretary’s promise of bringing more scientists into the country.
CaSE has responded to the measures announced by the Home Secretary on Wednesday aimed at limiting the number of non-EU migrants entering the UK. We welcome the efforts made by the Home Office to cater for the UK’s need to attract and accept talented scientists and engineers, however, we remain concerned that the changes to the systems may well decrease the number of such individuals who can enter the country.
CaSE has produced a briefing document – Science, Engineering, and the Immigration Cap: Preliminary Reaction & Proposals – analysing the Government’s announcements.
For immediate release – 23rd November 2010
The Home Secretary today announced a raft of new measures aimed at limiting the number of non-EU migrants entering the UK. In particular, the government has made changes to Tier 1 – the ‘highly skilled’ tier – replacing it with a new ‘exceptional talent’ route capped with a 1000 annual limit.
CaSE has organised a letter published in yesterday’s Times newspaper opposing the government’s proposed cap on non-EU migrants, signed by eight Nobel laureates including the two Russian migrants who won the Nobel Prize for Physics this week, Professor Andrew Geim and Professor Konstantin Novoselov. The letter received excellent coverage on the front page of the paper, as well as receiving further exposure in the paper’s leader, which called on the UK to maintain its excellence in scientific research, and a case study.
A letter to the Times highlighting the need for the government to ensure that the most talented scientists are attracted to the UK. The letter is endorsed by eight Nobel Prize Winners
Letter to the Times on the non-EU immigration cap
CaSE has responded to the Home Office Consultation on Limits of Non-EU Migration and the Migration Advisory Council Consultation on an Annual Limit on Economic Migration to the UK
By Katherine Barnes, Science Writer
Backlash over the Government’s interim cap on non-EU migrants continued this week, with scientists and engineers from academia and industry criticising the scheme and warning of its impact on the economy. University leaders are now protesting against a “double whammy”, with impending cuts to the science budget and an immigration cap that limits their ability to bring in top talent from abroad.
The government’s temporary cap on migrants was imposed on 28 June, in order to prevent a sudden swell in visa applications before a more permanent limit is brought in next year, but the limit was based on the number of overseas staff recruited in 2009, in the depths of recession.
CaSE briefing about the government’s plans to put in place a ‘migrant cap’ on non-EU immigrants. The document urges the government to make exceptions for qualified, competent scientists from the cap, not doing so could have adverse effects for UK universities and hinder the recovery of the economy.
Proposed cap on non-EU migrants briefing
This document outlines CaSE’s views on the potential damage that could result from a cap on non-EU scientists coming to the UK. It stresses the importance of scientists and engineers to the economy and gives an analysis of the ways in which exceptions can be made.
Consultation on Limits of Non-EU Migration
CaSE recommends that a method is found to exclude qualified and competent scientists and engineers from the migration cap. These people will have a vital role to play in the UK’s economic growth and in solving some of our urgent challenges.
Level of an Annual Limit on Economic Migration to the UK
Science tends to get on fairly well without legislation and lawmaking, so we weren’t anticipating a lot of science or engineering news from the Queen’s Speech this morning. But there are three issues which we’d like to flag up for your attention; the cap on economic migrants, schools reform, and possible reform to the House of Lords.
These potential reforms are in their early stages, but we’d be keen to hear what you think CaSE’s response should be. You can either leave a comment on the blog, or email me at imran[at-nospam]sciencecampaign.org.uk
The Queen said that her Government will “limit the number of non-European Union economic migrants entering the United Kingdom”. This is part of the coalition’s aim of reducing migration to “tens of thousands, not hundreds of thousands”.