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Letter to The Times on visa costs

08 Aug 2023

A letter to the Times from CaSE Deputy Executive Director Daniel Rathbone discussing increases to the immigration health surcharge, and additional cost for skilled workers wanting to live and work in the UK.

Sir, Large increases in visa fees threaten to have significant negative consequences for the UK’s ability to drive economic growth and improve livelihoods through science and technology. The government estimated in 2021 that the UK needed an additional 150,000 researchers and technicians by 2030 to go alongside planned increases in R&D investment. Many of these will need to come from overseas. However, if an overseas researcher wants to come to the UK on a global talent visa they have to pay about £3,700 up front. With the planned increase this would jump to about £5,900. For comparison, a researcher going to Germany would pay up front visa costs of about £100 or £250 to go to the US. If the government is serious about becoming a science superpower the UK has to have a competitive global offer or, when faced with such huge costs, the world’s brightest and best scientists will go elsewhere and everyone in the UK will lose out.

Dr Daniel Rathbone

Deputy executive director, Campaign for Science and Engineering