Government attempts to overhaul the visa system and ensure a flow of leading scientific talent from abroad must take into account the key role of Europe in providing recruits, says a leading business analyst.
Mark Smith, partner - innovation incentives at business performance consultants Ayming UK & Ireland, said action on the visa issue was welcome but warned government will need to tread carefully on the issue of EU recruits.
“In order to hit our R&D expenditure targets, we must retain access to the EU's giant pool of talent,” he insisted.
He pointed out that nearly three quarters of respondents (73 percent) in the company’s most recent report said that the factor which most influences their organisation’s ability to undertake R&D activity was access to talent.
“As it stands, EU workers account for around half of the scientific workforce in the UK, so this talent pipeline must remain firmly open or UK innovation will take a substantial hit,” stated Smith.
The more talent the UK has in this field, the more businesses can allocate to R&D spending. It's impossible to budget for R&D activity if you don't have the resources to do it
Mark Smith, partner - innovation incentives, Ayming UK & Ireland
"The Government has ambitious R&D spending targets so there's a clear conflict of intentions. The success of all research is dependent on highly skilled labour and it can be very tricky to attract and retain talent. The more talent the UK has in this field, the more businesses can allocate to R&D spending. It's impossible to budget for R&D activity if you don't have the resources to do it. “
Downing Street announced its new, fast-track visa scheme to attract the top scientists, researchers and mathematicians will open on 20 February.
It followed a commitment by prime minister Boris Johnson last year to put science, research and innovation at the top of the government’s agenda.
The new Global Talent route replaces the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route. It will have no cap on the number of people able to come to the UK and, for the first time, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) will endorse applicants from the scientific and research community.
A total of £300 million will also be invested into advanced mathematics study designed to benefit industrial and government processes.
STOP PRESS: Job applications in the engineering industry rose by 14.8% in the final few months of 2019 says employment platform CV-Library.
Its latest quarterly report looked at job market data throughout Q4 2019 and assessed year on year changes. It reveals that the engineering industry a 14.8% rise.
However, engineering firms have scaled down their hiring efforts, as job vacancies fell by 1.6% year-on-year.