‘Office for Talent’ to improve immigration experience

‘Office for Talent’ to improve immigration experience


Business secretary Alok Sharma. Photo: Cubankite / Shutterstock

The government has created a new ‘Office for Talent’ to make it easier for scientists, researchers and innovators to settle in the UK.

It comes as the government published its UK Research and Development Roadmap, which prioritises “ground-breaking research, attracting global talent, and cutting unnecessary red tape” to make Britain the “best place in the world for scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs to live, work and innovate”.

The Office for Talent is based in 10 Downing Street with delivery teams across government departments. It will begin work immediately to review the effectiveness of the current rules and ensure excellent customer service across the immigration system, so that it is simple, easy, and quick. It will also help those coming to the UK better understand the opportunities on offer and break down any barriers they might face.

Business secretary Alok Sharma said: “The UK has a strong history of turning new ideas into revolutionary technologies – from penicillin to graphene and the world wide web. Our vision builds on these incredible successes to cement Britain’s reputation as a global science superpower.

“The R&D Roadmap sets out our plan to attract global talent, cut unnecessary red tape and ensure our best minds get the support they need to solve the biggest challenges of our time.”

Liberal Democrats education spokeswoman Layla Moran said that the Office for Talent was merely “compensating for the fact we will lose our valuable friends and neighbours help in the science community, especially if he pursues a no-deal Brexit”.

The government has committed to:

  • £300 million investment to bring forward upgrades to scientific infrastructure
  • securing the benefits of world-class research by setting up a new Innovation Expert Group to improve how government supports research, from the idea stage right through to product development
  • boosting international collaboration to create new opportunities for trade, growth and influence for the science and innovation communities, and
  • aiming to maintain a close relationship with European partners by seeking to agree a fair and balanced deal for participation in EU R&D schemes.

As part of the new graduate route, the government announced that international students who complete a PhD from next summer can stay in the UK for three years after study to live and work. Students who have successfully completed undergraduate and master’s degrees will be able to stay two years after study.

Professor Dame Ottoline Leyser, chief executive of UK Research and Innovation, said: “Research and innovation are national strengths, central to our well-being, our economy, and our prosperity. The government’s R&D Roadmap emphasises this importance, sets out a clear ambition and recognises the vital role UK Research and Innovation will play in unlocking its full potential.

“UKRI welcomes the continued commitment to a record increase in public investment in R&D to £22 billion a year by 2024/25. This investment will allow us to build, with others, an inclusive knowledge economy across the UK, a system we are all part of and proud of, which we can all contribute to and benefit from.”

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