Prime Minister Boris Johnson has hailed plans to launch a new fast-track visa to attract professionals with skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), insisting he wants the UK to remain a global science superpower.
According to the Home Office three-year visa does not have a minimum salary requirement - unlike other visas - and allows professionals to apply for indefinite leave to remain following their initial three-year stay.
Individuals will be able to bring dependants to the UK on the visa, which builds on the existing Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa programme.
The visa will be open to both European Union and non-EU nationals and applicants do not need to have a job offer before they arrive in the UK.
Johnson said: “I want the UK to continue to be a global science superpower, and when we leave the EU we will support science and research and ensure that, far from losing out, the scientific community has a huge opportunity to develop and export our innovation around the world.”
Whether this will be enough to appease the tech industry remains to be seen. Earlier this year, an Institute of Directors survey revealed that nearly four out of ten tech companies were considering moving or setting up operations outside of the UK as a result of Brexit.
The study showed that 39% of firms working in information and communications said they had already set up operations elsewhere, were planning to do so, or were actively considering such a move.
Companies working in the ICT sector were the most likely to say they were considering a Brexit-related move, ahead of other industries, such as finance or manufacturing, perhaps because tech companies are easier to shift.