The White Paper on The UK’s future skills-based immigration system has been published

19 December 2018

The Campaign for Social Science notes that the long-awaited White Paper on The UK’s future skills-based immigration system has been published.

The Campaign’s recent report, A World of Talent, highlights the importance of international-origin staff to universities and the social sciences across the UK. The quality of higher education research depends on being able to recruit the best and the brightest to our universities in every subject. Excellent university teaching is enriched by robust research across all disciplines and by the range of skills international-origin staff bring with them, some of which are in short supply in the UK. Our universities and research, including the social sciences, contribute to the economic and social well-being of the UK, and the new visa system will need to ensure they prosper in a competitive world.

So we welcome the chance to respond to the White Paper’s proposals. Our research to date highlights the importance of having a streamlined visa system for skilled university posts across all disciplines, with no numerical cap. It shows that there is no simple divide between STEM and non-STEM subjects in their reliance on international-origin staff. And it also shows that with EU-origin staff making up more than half of all international-origin staff, the new visa regime will need to be streamlined to ensure that bureaucracy and costs are minimised wherever possible.

The Campaign for Social Science will shortly release further evidence on this issue.  We will examine the role played by fixed-term and ‘atypical’ university staff from abroad in teaching and research, and look at the implications of the proposed visa regime for their recruitment and retention. We will also publish a set of case studies that illustrate the contributions various social science centres are making to the ‘real world’, and that show the extent to which these centres are based on a diverse workforce, including international-origin staff.  Our report will also provide examples of the specialist skills and knowledge that international-origin social science staff bring to the UK.

We hope this evidence will help inform the 12 month engagement period about how the new visa system will work.  In due course, we will post our full response to the White Paper.