CaSE has published a new policy briefing, highlighting the consensus that expanding the current non-EEA migration system to cover all migration would not meet the needs of science and engineering.
Produced in advance of the immigration white paper, the briefing advocates creating a new streamlined and proportionate immigration system, founded on robust evidence and fit for the future. The new digital platform developed for the EEA settlement scheme could be used as a starting point for such a system, and would require more than the policy tweaks proposed by the Migration Advisory Committee.
Commenting, CaSE Executive Director Dr Sarah Main said:
"The UK's migration environment is a vital part of the competitiveness of the UK as a location for science and engineering. Our members are clear that the Government's working model of expanding the visa system for non-EEA nationals to cover all migration would introduce substantial barriers to research and innovation, in terms of the people we need to attract and the process to do so.
Instead this could be an opportunity for the UK to create a streamlined, digital migration system, that is fit for the future and instils confidence in the UK as an outward-looking nation. The system developed for registration of 'settled status' by EU nationals in the UK is technologically advanced and takes a welcoming approach. This could be a starting point for a new system and could improve the migration process for all.
Scientists, doctors and engineers have been turned away this year due to visa regulations. The Government says it wants to attract these 'brightest and best'. Parliament and the Home Office have an opportunity in the immigration white paper to ensure the UK’s migration system is an asset to our global scientific competitiveness and not a hindrance."
CaSE Assistant Director Naomi Weir has also written a piece on CaSE's new immigration policy briefing and the need to develop a non-EEA migration system that works for science and engineering.
In September CaSE wrote a joint letter to the Home Secretary with the BioIndustry Association and TechUK cautioning that an expansion of the non-EEA system would pose significant problems for businesses, particularly small, high growth innovative businesses.
You can also read CaSE's analysis of the Migration Advisory Committee's recent report on EEA migration to the UK.
Earlier this year CaSE published a new immigration briefing, which calls on the government to rebuild confidence in the short term (amending visa rules, improving immigration messaging and providing confidence during the Brexit transition), and create a streamlined system in the long term that supports research and innovation.