The United Kingdom government on Monday announced plans to double fast-track visas for scientists from around the world, including from India.
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel announced that the number of eligible fellowships which can offer accelerated endorsement for visas for scientists wanting to conduct research will double from 62 to over 120.
The Indian-origin minister added that the plan builds on Prime Minister Boris Johnson's outline for a wider pool of leading scientists and researchers getting fast-tracked entry into the UK.
“We want to make sure the UK continues to be at the forefront of innovation, so we need an immigration system that attracts the sharpest minds from around the globe,” said Patel.
In line with the current process, qualified scientists who receive eligible fellowships will only need to provide a letter from the relevant funding organisation which will see them fast-tracked to the UK Home Office visa application stage where immigration checks will be carried out so that they can begin their innovative work as soon as possible.
Organisations joining an expanded list include world-renowned research fellowships such as Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions, Human Frontier Science, European Research Council and the European Molecular Biology Organisation.
“A number of additional awards from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and its research councils will also be added, allowing the UK to attract a wide range of elite researchers and specialists,” the government said.
The revised list of fellowships will be added to the existing Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) visa route, it added.
The department also confirmed bringing forward the plans to abolish the cap on the numbers under the Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) route and an accelerated path to settlement for those who arrive under the exceptional talent scheme, set to be implemented in early 2020.