Jonathan Beech, Managing Director, Migrate UK, considers the announcement by the Chancellor in the Budget that a new immigration system will be introduced for science and technology specialists
The announcement of a new immigration policy being announced by the Chancellor not the Home Secretary is definitely a first. While this will have been discussed with the Home Secretary, it’s definitely a case of watch this space on how this will fully work in practice.
Developing the UK’s expertise as a science superpower will need many more scientific superstars across science, research and tech to add to our existing talent pool. But we need to learn when the scheme will begin, the number of points required, plus any other qualifying criteria for this new highly skilled migrant visa. A key bonus for companies of course is that it won’t require them to sponsor these employees – cutting extra bureaucracy and further cost.
On my first take it appears that no endorsement or sponsorship means this scheme could be a style of visa similar to the old ‘Tier 1 General’ or ‘Highly Skilled Migrant Programme,’ whereby specialists need to score points in designated areas for example, age, English language, work experience, qualifications, earnings and maintenance.
The difference of course this time is that this will be for specific jobs only. If it does go ahead (likely the summer at the earliest), the scheme would need to outline the job codes it will cover. Workers would be expected to be independent so they can swap and move employers to match their talents.
We have noticed that a lot of overseas IT experts are contacting us on LinkedIn at the moment looking for jobs. It will be interesting to see how many of these experts might be able to qualify and benefit under this new non-sponsored route.
I also noticed the Chancellor’s words on simplifying the visa process for entrepreneurs start-ups and scale-ups. This too could be welcomed, but again more needs to be learnt on how it will really work in practice.