Institute of Physics response to the immigration White Paper

Following yesterday’s (Wednesday 19 December) publication of the Government’s Immigration White Paper, Chief Executive Officer for the Institute of Physics, Professor Paul Hardaker, said:

“The strength of the UK research and innovation sector is built on our ability to attract and retain the people we need – the world’s best researchers to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and the highly skilled technicians able to turn ideas into reality – no matter where they come from."


Professor Paul Hardaker continued: 

“Aspects of the immigration system proposed in the White Paper risk undermining the foundation of one of the UK’s true great strengths – its world-leading research base – and failing to achieve the greatest possible impact from the ambitious investment the Government is making in R&D.

“Salary is not a valid proxy for skill level and competencies in science and innovation, and the proposed salary threshold may result in many highly skilled scientists, researchers and technicians becoming ineligible to move to the UK. The current threshold of £30,000 is higher than that earned by some early career roles that are essential to the success of UK physics; for example, specialist science technicians and postdoctoral researchers. 

“We welcome the removal of the current cap on the number of skilled migrants, and the lack of restrictions on the number of international students. However, we are already hearing reports from across our community that talented scientists and technicians from EU countries and beyond are deciding against coming to the UK, following our decision to leave the EU. The proposed immigration system in its current form will do little to alleviate their concerns.”