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Boris Johnson announces fast-track immigration plans for top scientists

Industry welcomes news but doubt over no-deal Brexit remains

BoJo

Prime Minister Boris Johnson (pictured above) has announced plans to develop a new fast-track visa route to attract top scientists to work in the UK.

In the announcement, Johnson said that he will ask the Home Office and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to work closely with the scientific community to help facilitate the new visa option.

According to the government, the fast-track route will “attract elite researchers and specialists in science, engineering and technology, from math Olympiads at the very start of their careers to winners of internationally recognised prizes and fellowships”.

The announcement sets out plans to abolish the cap on numbers under the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visas, removing the need to have an offer of employment before coming to the UK and ensuring dependents have full access to the labour market.

The new immigration proposals have been welcomed by the pharma industry, despite ongoing doubt surrounding the status of Brexit and the potential negative impact of a no-deal.

“Bringing the brightest and best scientists to the UK, as well as nurturing our own home-grown talent, will be critical to our future success in researching and developing medicines,” said Andrew Croydon, Head of Skills and Education at the ABPI.

“Thegovernment’s proposals to attract more scientists to the UK are a step in the right direction,” he added.

While it may be a “step in the right direction”, the announcement comes on the heels of increased no-deal planning.

With an additional £2.1bn set aside by the government for a no-deal Brexit this month, it is lookingincreasingly likely that theUK will leave the EU without a deal on 31 October. The focus on the short-term impact of this has been an increased concern around the supply of medicines, with pharma companies encouraging the government to make this a top priority.

However, the pharma industry has maintained fears that even with preparation, there can be no guarantee that there would be no shortages or delaysto drug supplies in the event of a no-deal.

The pharma industry has alsocontinued to voice concerns regardingthe long-term effects of a no-deal. There is a persistent worry within the industry that leaving without a deal could harm regulatory and scientific co-operation between the UK and EU in the future.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

12th August 2019

From: Healthcare

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