Victory on Migrant Cap

Times Front Page on CaSE letter

The Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) today claimed that the Government’s new immigration rules represented a victory for the science and engineering sectors. The new proposals give significant rewards to applicants with science and engineering qualifications.

Academics, industrialists, and charity researchers had sounded the alarm over the coalition’s new ‘migrant cap’ for workers from outside the EU, having shown how important international mobility is for research and development.

Over one in seven academics in the UK higher education sector alone hail from outside the EU. In October eight Nobel laureates, including the new President of the Royal Society, signed a letter organised by CaSE saying that the UK “must not to isolate itself” from the global world of research.

The new proposals from the UK Border Agency mean that an applicant who has a PhD or equivalent level job offer, earning £23,000, would be preferred over someone earning £74,000 but who did not have a PhD-level job offer.

CaSE’s efforts in this area were recognised by the Conservative Immigration Minister Damian Green on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

CaSE Director Imran Khan said:

“Part of the reason the UK is world-leading in science and engineering is our ability to attract talent from around the world. The migrant cap could have left a sizeable dent in the UK’s scientific credentials.”

“I’m delighted that the Government, and the UK Border Agency in particular, have listened and responded to our concerns. They’ve responded with a package that rewards people who want to come and invest their intellectual capital in this country. I think we can see this as an important victory for the science and engineering sector.”

“For a long time now the visa allocation system has rewarded wealthy investors and Premier league footballers, and discriminated against top scientists and engineers – it’s great to see this finally being addressed.”

“We’ll continue to work closely with the UKBA to make sure this package works for Britain, as well as making sure that other aspects of the immigration system – including student visas – don’t prevent the recruitment of non-EU researchers that are so important for our research base.”

“While we still disagree that a cap on scientists and engineers is something the Government should implement, these proposals should mean that the UK can still bring in the necessary individuals from around the world.”


Notes to editors:

  1. The Campaign for Science and Engineering is the UK’s leading independent advocate for the science and engineering sectors. Find out more at and read our blog at
  2. For a summary of CaSE’s work on the migrant cap, including the Nobel laureates’ letter, please see here:
  3. The UKBA’s proposals can be found here:
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One Comment

  1. Louf
    Posted 17/02/2011 at 16:50 | Permalink

    This is indeed a very positive development. However, one of the main problems faced by non-EU post-docs is the extension of stay. At the moment, many post-docs who have come to the end of their contract are not allowed to extent their stay because the universities cannot provide them with the certificate of sponsorship. Whereas the EU post-docs can stay until they finish their projects. Considering there will still be a cap on Tier 2, the universities will always have to choose to whom they give these certificates to. And in most cases, non-EU post-docs will be denied to extend their contacts for short term to finish their projects. This puts the non-EU post-docs in a very disadvantaged situation compared to the EU member post-docs. Non-EU post-docs coming to UK should be made aware that short term extension of contracts will most likely not be possible.

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