PM seeks to entice foreign
STEM experts to make UK
a 'science superpower'

Migrant workers with skills in science, tech, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects will be fast-tracked into the UK under a new immigration route.

The Prime Minister launched his offer last week, rebranding the existing Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa route. Its aim is to enhance ‘the intellectual and knowledge base of the UK’, particularly in science and research.

The new scheme will go ahead regardless of the deal under which the UK exits the EU. It does not have a minimum salary requirement and applicants do not need to have a job offer before arriving in the UK. They will also be able to stay for an initial three years, travel to and from the UK during that time, and bring their dependants with them.

Key changes of the new scheme include:

  • abolishing the cap on numbers under the Tier 1 Exceptional Talent route
  • expanding the pool of UK research institutes and universities able to endorse candidates
  • creating criteria that confer automatic endorsement, subject to immigration checks
  • accelerated path to settlement.

Successful applicants must pay the Immigration Health Surcharge, in line with all other foreign workers.

There has as yet been no announcement of the fees for this visa, but it is thought to be comparable to existing charges for Tier 2 skilled workers.

Boris Johnson said:

‘Britain has a proud history of innovation, with home-grown inventions spanning from the humble bicycle to the lightbulb.

‘We were home to the world’s first national DNA database, we discovered graphene, and our cutting-edge scientists should be proud to follow in the footsteps of titans like Ada Lovelace and Nobel Laureates Francis Crick and Peter Higgs.

‘But to ensure we continue to lead the way in the advancement of knowledge, we have to not only support the talent that we already have here, but also ensure our immigration system attracts the very best minds from around the world.’

Share story
Back to top of page