Author: Will Nott
The UK will try to attract global talent into the country with a new Scale-Up Visa, the country’s chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has announced as part of his 2021 budget.
Launching in spring 2022, the visa will allow fast-growing businesses to access highly skilled overseas workers.
“An economy built on innovation must be open and attractive to the best and brightest minds”
The fast-track visa will be available for those who have a high-skilled job offer from an eligible business with a salary of at least £33,000.
Sunak justified the move by saying an economy built on innovation must be open and attractive to the “best and brightest minds”.
“A third of our science Nobel Laureates have been immigrants. Half of our fastest growing companies have a foreign-born founder,” he said.
“So, an economy built on innovation must be open and attractive to the best and brightest minds.”
Sunak said that the budget confirms the eligibility criteria for the new Scale-Up Visa will make it quicker and easier for fast-growing businesses to bring in highly skilled individuals.
“And the Trade secretary’s new Global Talent Network, launching initially in the Bay Area, Boston and Bangalore will identify, attract and relocate the best global talent in key science and tech sectors. All part of our plan to make our visa system for international talent the most competitive in the world,” he added.
Other key points in the budget were that the UK government plans to increase science funding by £1.1bn, and fully fund Horizon Europe.
“With less than 1% of the world’s population, we have four of the world’s top 20 universities, 14% of the world’s most impactful research and the second most Nobel Laureates,” said Sunak.
“We want to go further. I can confirm we will maintain our target to increase R&D investment to £22bn.
“But in order to get there, and deliver on our other priorities, we’ll reach the target in 2026-27 spending, by the end of this Parliament, £20bn a year on R&D. That’s a cash increase of 50%. The fastest increase ever.”
Sunak’s announcement was praised by Steve West, president of Universities UK.
“Universities have been essential in the fight against coronavirus and it is excellent to see government recognising that our universities can play a significant role in speeding up the UK’s recovery from the pandemic,” he said.
“The funding confirmed today will enable universities to fully support and power up the government’s plans for levelling up, working together with businesses, supporting innovation, and meeting local skills needs.”
West said that UUK is pleased to see the continued commitment to increasing public spending on research, innovation, enterprise and development, which will help to maintain the UK’s position as a global science superpower.
“It is also positive to hear that the full costs of meeting our Horizon Europe association will be met,” he said.
“Sustainable funding is of course vital for universities as they look to maximise their role in both levelling up and expanding pioneering research.
“We look forward to continuing to engage with the government on funding for post-18 education, working to ensure that anyone with the potential to succeed at university has the opportunity to do so while ensuring the country has the supply of highly skilled people it needs,” he added.