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Elisabeth Pain

No Pay Threshold for Overseas Scientists to Stay in the United Kingdom

Today, the United Kingdom Home Office announced stricter rules that will make it more difficult for holders of temporary work visas to settle in the U.K. after 6 years of residence — but they made an exception for scientists.

“Exceptionally talented people, investors and entrepreneurs will continue to have the option to stay, while skilled temporary workers wanting to apply for settlement will have to earn at least £35,000 or the going rate for their job, whichever is higher,” the Home Office said in the announcement. However, “Migrants doing jobs where there is a domestic skills shortage, as well as scientists and researchers in PhD level roles, will be exempt from the £35,000 threshold.” 
“Research can take many years and leading international researchers need assurance from the outset that our immigration system will allow them to complete their work so long as it continues to benefit the UK’s economy and society,” commented Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, which represents 20 major universities in the United Kingdom. “We are pleased that today’s announcement means those researchers in the early stages of their career can bring their skills here and continue their work safe in the knowledge they can stay as long as their work is of value to the UK.” 
The new settlement rules are part of an overhaul of the U.K. visa system which aims to reduce immigration, including changes to student visas that were initiated last year.