IOP backs call to PM to end monthly cap on UK visas for science staff

8 March 2018

IOP has backed a letter to the Prime Minister calling for the Government to lift caps on the number of specified skilled workers in science and innovation who can come into the UK each year.

IOP backs call to PM to end monthly cap on UK visas for science staff

The Institute has joined 45 other organisations in signing a letter written by the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CASE) to Prime Minister Theresa May urging the Government to revise its policy on limiting the number of visas for the UK that can be granted each month to workers from outside the European Economic Area.

Currently, such workers can be granted visas if their roles are on the Government’s Tier 2 Shortage Occupation List and attract specified minimum salaries, but there is a cap on the numbers that can be granted each month, and that limit was reached in each of the last three months.

The letter points out that two-thirds of the roles on the list are in science, technology, maths and medicine, demonstrating the Government’s recognition of demand in these areas. It says that polling has consistently shown that the public overwhelmingly supports continued immigration of skilled workers and says: “We urge the Government to take this opportunity to revise the current policy and exempt roles on the Shortage Occupation List and PhD level roles from the Tier 2 cap.”

IOP’s Interim Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Tony McBride, said: “The strength of UK science and the benefits that it brings to the nation are built on the skills of the people who work in it. This understanding is at the heart of the Industrial Strategy, and should also be central to the UK’s immigration system.

“We hope that the Government will provide an exemption from the Tier 2 Visa Cap for shortage occupations and PhD-level jobs as an important step towards creating an immigration system that allows UK science and industry to attract the best people, no matter where they come from. “

IOP has been working with partners across the scientific community to provide clarity, offer solutions and ensure that UK science remains world-leading after Brexit. We believe that a new immigration system must be flexible to allow the international inward and outward mobility of scientists and researchers and that we must protect the future of our international physics workforce, including the 26% of our academic staff in physics departments who come from non-UK EU countries and the further 18% who are from outside the EU.

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