The Academy of Social Science has learned that the government’s recently announced plans to introduce a new fast-track system for Tier 1 visas (for ‘exceptional talent’) will apply only to STEM

30 August 2019

The Academy of Social Science has learned that the government’s recently announced plans to introduce a new fast-track system for Tier 1 visas (for ‘exceptional talent’) will apply only to individuals with science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) skills.  We are, of course, seeking to make representations about this.

In the meantime, Sharon Witherspoon, Head of Policy at the Academy of Social Sciences, says:

“The Academy of Social Sciences is disappointed to have learned this. It is essential that the new fast-track global talent Tier 1 visa is not restricted to STEM posts only. Any visa scheme intended to ensure the health of UK research after Brexit must include social scientists, whose vital skills are needed to address a range of critical issues.  For instance, we need economists and business management experts to help grow our economy, and geographers, psychologists, and political scientists to help us mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Equally worrying is that this may be a precedent for other visa reforms we and others have advocated, since the ‘exceptional’ route applies in any case to only a small number of the international experts the UK needs.  We have made clear the vital importance of international staff to UK social sciences in our World of Talent reports. And we and others have argued that science in its broadest sense, including the social sciences and humanities, is a system, and requires the best possible skills and knowledge at all levels and across all sectors.

The Academy and its Campaign is represented on the UKRI Migration Forum, but we would welcome the opportunity to put the case for the social sciences directly to the Minister and the Home Office.  We shall be seeking a meeting as soon as possible.”