British prime minister Boris Johnson announced plans for a new fast-track visa system to attract scientists, the BBC reported. Johnson plans to eliminate the limit on “tier one” visas for high-skilled migrants, which are currently capped at 2,000.
Scientific groups welcomed the proposal but said the benefit to research would be outweighed by damage caused by the United Kingdom exiting the European Union without a deal. E.U. nationals account for about half of the U.K.’s scientific workforce, and they do not currently need visas to work in British labs. After Brexit, E.U. nationals applying to work in British labs will be subject to the same visa rules as any other applicant coming from outside the U.K., prompting fears of scientific workforce shortages.