The attack against UK visa caps continues today in a letter to The Times from eight award-winning scientists who point out that international collaborations lie behind a significant proportion of the UK’s scientific output and it is as a result international element that the UK remains a leader in scientific research. British science depends upon globalised research, they say. Nobel prize winner Professor O’Keefe (vivisector) spoke on Radio 4’s Today programme to describe how the Immigration Rules had presented “a very very large obstacle”. Replying to Home Office pleas that there is scope for world-leading scientists he said “I am very very acutely aware of what you have to do if you want to bring people into Britain and to get through immigration. I’m not saying its impossible, but we should be thinking hard about making Britain a more welcoming place”. Several university Vice Chancellors have hit out against the present UK government’s immigration controls- most recently Oxford University’s Vice-Chancellor Andrew Hamilton told fellow academics that the controls are “directly harming UK interests”. He continued “wherever I travel in the world, particularly China and India, one question persists- Why has the UK adopted a visa system so hostile to student entry?… the question baffles me as well”. The British Council predicted this week that the growth in international post-graduate students coming to Britain will slow by around 12% over the next decade. Last week, Business Secretary Vince Cable warned that restricting non-EU workers was beginning to damage UK’s economic recovery. And on and on… The Home Office have said that a new “exceptional talent visa” will provide for the needs in scientific and engineering fields. “The UK is open to the brightest and the best, including talented scientists and engineers, and it is wrong to suggest our companies are prevented from appointing the skilled workers they need”. BTW, Herald Scotland reports: Vince Cable has called his coalition partners “UKIP without the beer” and said Labour offered “French socialism without the sex”. It would be once to hear some thoughtful debate on these important issues without the inane soundbites, puerile scrapping and appeals to the perceived baser instincts of the electorate.
This immigration blog post: Immigration Lawyer Jeremy Chipperfield, practising from the chambers of Michael Mansfield QC, Chancery Lane, also writes at Immigration Barrister website www.iBarristersChambers.com