Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Stamp of Approval for Rational Visa Policies

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Stamp of Approval for Rational Visa Policies

Article excerpt

There was some good news in last week's immigration announcements, as strange as it sounds. As well as keeping the overall work-related visa cap static - rather than reducing it owing to lower than expected take-up - the government unveiled important changes to the resident labour market test (RLMT).

For our sector, the RLMT is a piece of red tape that means that employers must prove they cannot find the right candidate in the "resident labour market" before they can bring in foreign talent. In practice, this means advertising the position in the local Jobcentre Plus every six months before every foreign hire - including the infamous example of the UK's leading genetics lab, the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, having to advertise more than 100 posts at the local job centre and receiving absolutely no applications in reply.

Following discussions with the Campaign for Science and Engineering and many of our members, the Home Office is significantly relaxing these restrictions. The policy picture isn't perfect, but alongside the government's continuing prioritisation of PhD-level skills in the visa queue, it shows that the department is genuinely engaging with the sector after a rocky start under the coalition. …

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