In Brief

Are the UK government’s new visas just a gimmick?

Boris Johnson announces Global Talent visa to show UK is ‘open to talented minds’

Boris Johnson is unveiling a new visa system which he claims will “show that the UK is open to the most talented minds in the world” - but which opposition parties have dismissed as a gimmick. 

Announcing the new Global Talent visa, which will replace the so-called Tier 1 visa, the prime minister said: “The UK has a proud history of scientific discovery, but to lead the field and face the challenges of the future we need to continue to invest in talent and cutting edge research.

“That is why, as we leave the EU, I want to send a message that the UK is open to the most talented minds in the world, and stands ready to support them to turn their ideas into reality.”

Downing Street says research funding for advanced mathematics will be boosted and cash for PhD students doubled, in what The Times says is “the latest sign of the influence of Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s senior adviser”.

However, opposition parties say the Global Talent visa is little more than a gimmick, noting the cap of 2,000 admissions under the old system has never been hit. 

Christine Jardine, the Liberal Democrats home affairs spokeswoman, said: “If the Government is serious about championing UK science, it must prioritise continued mobility as part of our future relationship with the EU.”

A clampdown on low-skilled migrants from the EU will also soon be launched. Dismissing claims that the new restrictions would hurt the economy, Home Secretary Priti Patel said businesses had become “far too reliant” on “cheap labour from the EU”.

Speaking to Sky News, Patel said that it was “about time” companies invested in British workers and new equipment instead of low-skilled EU migrants.

“We are absolutely determined to change the immigration system, end the complexity of the immigration system, have simpler rules, have a points-based system where we can absolutely have people that bring the right kind of skills for our labour market,” she said. 

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