22 February 2011
Following discussions between the President of the Royal Society, Sir Paul Nurse, and the Immigration Minister, Damien Green MP, the following joint statement has been agreed:
• The Government has gone to great lengths to take account of the scientific community in migration policy. The intention is to enable high quality research scientists from around the world to visit and work in this country to enhance the UK’s science base
• The new Tier 1 route for exceptionally talented scientists is a route for attracting the world’s best scientists. Enabling competent scientific organisations to endorse candidates will place the power to select the brightest and the best in the hands of experts.
• The Tier 2 (skilled worker) policy explicitly favours the scientific community, prioritising them ahead of almost all other occupations.
• The Royal Society welcomes the prioritisation of scientists in Tier 2. The Society will continue to work with and advise the UKBA as the system rolls out and will monitor on a monthly basis the implications for UK science, specifically whether or not researchers are able to enter the country within an acceptable time and with minimal bureaucracy.
• The implications of the new policy will become evident over the next 12 months. Ministers at the Home Office have been clear that they would like to continue to work closely with the Royal Society in the spirit of collaboration. As long as the new rules on immigration do not have a negative impact on UK science the Society will continue to work with the UKBA.