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Global Talent visa: New system to keep UK 'open to talented scientists'

The Government has announced that a fast-track visa will open next month to attract the world's leading scientists.

The visas will have no cap on the numbers of suitably qualified people able to come to the UK. The announcement follows a pledge last year by the PM to turn the UK into a "supercharged magnet to attract scientists like iron filings".

Researchers remain concerned about the uncertainty of the UK's role in EU research programmes following Brexit.

The new visa system will begin on February 20 and managed by the UK Research and Innovation Agency (UKRI), which funds government research, rather than the Home Office. This is to ensure that suitable applicants are quickly assessed and fast-tracked by those qualified to asses their scientific credentials, rather than immigration officials.

Tacitly addressing concerns about the impact of Brexit on the UK's participation in international programmes, the government claims the scheme has been introduced in order to enable UK-based research projects to recruit the best scientists and mathematicians.

The announcement is a big win for research organisations who had been lobbying the government very hard for a fast-track visa system for leading researchers to mitigate what they feared would be a brain drain after Brexit.

They are especially pleased that UKRI, with the support of other so-called endorsed research organisations, can vouch for an applicant - instead of Home Office officials attempting to determine their scientific attainment.

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