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How visa changes may impact physics: your views needed

12 December 2023

We want your views on proposed Home Office changes that could make it harder for scientists and researchers to come to work in the UK – and impact physics innovation.

Last week, the Home Office announced a number of changes to the visa system which have raised concerns about the potential impact on the research and development (R&D) workforce.

The proposed changes would come into effect in spring 2024 and include:

  • The minimum salary required for a Skilled Worker Visa will increase from £26,200 to £38,700;
  • The minimum income required for British citizens who want to bring a foreign family member or partner to live with them in the UK is rising from £18,600 to £38,700 a year;
  • Employers will no longer be allowed to pay reduced salaries to foreign nationals taking up roles on the current Shortage Occupation List; and
  • The Shortage Occupation List itself will be reviewed and replaced with a more limited Immigration Salary List.

The IOP is concerned that these changes may make it more difficult for scientists, researchers and others with much-needed physics skills to come to the UK to work in our universities and in physics-based businesses.

The UK already faces a serious shortage of physics skills: physics skills power almost 2 million jobs but two-thirds of physics-powered businesses have been forced to pause or slow down their R&D activities because of a lack of skilled workers. Many of our groundbreaking research programmes and innovations depend upon international scientific talent coming from overseas.

Any changes that make it more difficult to attract overseas talent would impact vital physics discoveries and innovation, which in turn would affect our economy and the government’s ambitions for the UK to be a global science superpower.

Share your views

We want to better understand the scale and nature of the impact these proposed changes would have on physics so we can work with the government to ensure those unintended consequences are avoided.

We’re keen to hear from IOP members and others in the physics community on the type and number of roles in your department, business or institution that would be affected by these changes. Your input will help us build up the best possible picture of how these changes may affect physics so that we can influence the proposals most effectively.

Please contact [email protected] with your thoughts and feedback.