Creation of ‘Office for Talent’ intended to attract highly skilled migrants to the UK
In March the government launched a “Research & Development Roadmap” setting out its commitment to increasing UK investment in R&D to 2.4% of GDP by 2027 and to increase public funding for R&D to £22 billion per year by 2024 to 2025. In support of that initiative and in recognition that people and talent lies at the heart of R&D, the government has announced that it will soon be opening an Office for Talent (OT) designed to attract highly skilled migrants to move to the UK.
Working across government departments including (amongst others) the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Home Office, the OT will collaborate with UK Research & Innovation to attract leading scientists, researchers and others in similar fields currently living abroad.
In addition to attracting talent to the UK for the first time, a key aim for the plans is to bring back British talent that has left the country.
The announcement comes as part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s proposed (Rooseveltian) “new deal” post-coronavirus strategy, and follows the publishing of a report by the City & Guilds Group, which pointed to the need for major investment in domestic skills to avoid large-scale unemployment. The CEO of the City & Guilds Group called on the government to “urgently redirect existing skills funding to ensure that the budgets set aside for further education are being allocated in the right way, with the right focus to support skills development that promotes social mobility”.
The government’s plans will see international PhD students permitted to remain in the UK for three years following completion of their studies (an increase of a year), and are intended to ensure that the immigration system is “simple, easy, and quick” for those in the sciences sector.
Another welcome change under the plans includes permitting certain migrants to switch their visas from within the UK, whereas currently they must return to their home country when applying.
For further information on this topic please refer contact a member of Kemp Little’s Immigration team.
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