Well, this is embarrassing. Conservative Party ministers have been left with egg on their face, after a Freedom of Information Request forced the government to reveal that a post-Brexit visa has ‘failed spectacularly’ to attract prize-winning scientists to the UK.
Fast-track visa pathway shunned by top academic talent
The ‘prestigious prize pathway’ for the Brexit Global Talent visa was launched to much fanfare by then-Home Secretary Priti Patel in 2021. She said the scheme was introduced to bring ‘the best and brightest’ into Britain, lauding the move as a benefit of leaving the European Union.
Those who had won the Nobel Prize, Turing Award, and various other top accolades were eligible to come and work in the UK. But, amongst a field of thousands, just two visas were granted last year – and so far in 2023, only one other person has taken up the offer.
Why has the Brexit ‘best and brightest’ visa failed?
The team at Research Professional News are responsible for uncovering this policy failure. Their FOI request has exposed major shortcomings in the government’s ability to attract global academic talent to live and work in Britain.
Mike Galsworthy, director of the campaign group Scientists for EU, argues that the government has failed to create an environment that is attractive enough to draw-in these talented individuals. The Home Office, however, begs to differ.
Home Office defends prestigious Brexit visa and ‘low amount’ of applicants
Responding to the unflattering numbers, one official source claims that the pathway ‘is meant to be exclusive’, and therefore, a high number of applicants ‘were not expected’. Whatever helps them sleep at night, we suppose…
“Due to the exclusivity of the prizes which qualify under the ‘prestigious prize’ pathway of the Global Talent route, we do not expect a high volume of applications in comparison with other immigration routes.” | UK Home Office