New arrangements for skilled migrants

16 February 2011

Commenting on the Government’s announcement today about new arrangements for Tier 2 of the points-based system for skilled migrants, Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group of universities said:

“Higher education is one of our most successful export industries. If we are to maintain our place in the premier league of global higher education, it is crucial that our visa system continues to support the efforts of our leading universities to attract the very best academics from around the world. There is a fierce global market for the best academic talent, and our track record in attracting international staff has made a very important contribution to the considerable success of UK higher education and research to date and is vital to economic growth in this country. 

“It is vital that we can continue to attract world-class academics of the calibre of Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov from the University of Manchester and the 2010 Nobel Prizewinners in Physics, who themselves recently joined with six other Nobel Laureates in urging that the UK should not isolate itself from the increasingly globalised world of research.  As they said, “British science depends on it.”

“While we shall need to consider the final details in March and take stock when the new system is in place, we welcome the direction of travel indicated in today’s guidance.  We particularly welcome the greater priority given to academic staff and researchers within the overall Tier 2 monthly cap. Their expertise will be vital to the academic and economic life of this country and will inspire countless others to follow in their footsteps.  These changes are urgently needed as the interim Tier 2 cap was restricting our ability to compete in the global market for academic talent.

“We are also very keen to see details about the Tier 1 for Exceptional Talent, and the Government's decisions in relation to student immigration.  It's critical that our universities can continue to attract the best international students, as well as the best staff.”

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