The Home Office has announced a new fast-track immigration offer for individuals with skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects. The scheme will provide a three-year visa, during which the individual can come and go from the UK at will. Following the three year period, those on the scheme can apply for indefinite leave to remain. If successful, this will provide a permanent right to reside in the UK and access to healthcare and benefits on the same basis as British citizens.
There will be no minimum salary requirement, and the individuals do not need to secure a job before arriving in the UK. This initiative will be particularly important for businesses which rely on pharmaceutical, science, or engineering roles and aims to facilitate access for those with skills in these areas to come and work, study and live in the UK.
In the wake of Brexit and the increased barriers to a global workforce, this new immigration route may provide a helpful alternative for employers to ensure their workforces remain highly skilled. However, though the visa is expected to be implemented later this year, no set date has been given, and clearly the usefulness or not of the new visa will be dependent on what exactly the visa requirements, process and costs will look like in actuality, none of which is yet known.
Thank you to Nicole Fenton, Legal Process & Technology Paralegal for her contribution to this post.