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Learned societies to nominate ‘exceptional’ immigrants

The Home Office has announced that learned societies, including the Royal Society, will be able to nominate 1,000 “exceptionally talented” individuals for immigration to the UK.

The new “exceptional talent” route will begin on 9 August. It will be open to people who are recognised as—or have the potential to become—“leaders” in their fields.

The Royal Society and the Arts Council England will both be allowed to nominate up to 300 places; and the Royal Academy of Engineering and the British Academy 200 each.

The announcement comes after several warnings from the research community.

“The government has listened to the science community’s concerns about jeopardising our international leadership by restricting the immigration of scientists and the Royal Society will play its part in ensuring that the very best international talent can continue to come to the UK to work,” said Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society, in a statement.

“In order to safeguard the UK’s future competitiveness, we must ensure that it remains an attractive destination for world class engineers,” said John Parker, president of the Royal Academy of Engineering. “I am confident that this new visa route will help to encourage global excellence to come to the UK.”

The immigration minister, Damien Green, said that the scheme comes at a time of “major reform of the immigration system to bring net migration back down to the tens of thousands.

“We will continue to welcome those who have the most to offer and contribute to our society and economy,” he added.