The borders of science: making UK visas work for short-term researcher mobility

17 July 2023

Short-term researcher mobility enables international collaboration and increases the impact and reach of scientific discoveries and innovations. Making the UK a top global hub for conferences and other research-related visits supports government policy on attracting science and technology talent to the UK. It also comes with economic and soft power advantages which extend beyond science.

The Royal Society has previously shown that the UK is outperformed by comparator countries on the costs of work and study visas. To understand the picture for short-term mobility arrangements, the Royal Society in collaboration with the international law firm, Fragomen LLP, conducted an analysis of short-term visa costs and processes in the UK and other leading science nations. Drawing on data from UK and international sources, and a series of stakeholder interviews, it finds barriers and inefficiencies with the current system which cast doubt on its effectiveness. It includes recommendations which are aimed at improving the experience for hosts and visitors while maintaining UK border security.

Find out more about the Society's work on the costs of work and study visas in the UK and other leading science nations.