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UK immigration: Mobility impaired

Ever harsher—and costlier—Home Office rules are reducing the talent pool available for British research

Lu Zhang’s affection for the UK began in 2012 when she started an MA at the School of African and Oriental Studies in 2012. She was bowled over by its multiculturalism, which she had heard about at high school in China. “Wow, it’s true!” she remembers thinking. 

At the time, visa fees were minimal and there was no health surcharge to access the NHS. But when she returned eight years later, for a PhD at the University of Nottingham, this had changed. NHS and visa fees combined cost hundreds of pounds a year during her doctorate, and the government has recently hiked costs as it seeks to slow down inward migration.

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