UK Visa Scheme for Prize-winning Scientists Receives No Applications

Not a single scientist has applied to a UK government visa scheme for Nobel prize laureates and other award winners since its launch six months ago, New Scientist reported Tuesday. From a report: The scheme has come under criticism from scientists and has been described as "a joke." In May, the government launched a fast-track visa route for award-winners in the fields of science, engineering, the humanities and medicine who want to work in the UK. This prestigious prize route makes it easier for some academics to apply for a Global Talent visa -- it requires only one application, with no need to meet conditions such as a grant from the UK Research and Innovation funding body or a job offer at a UK organisation. The number of prizes that qualify academics for this route currently stands at over 70, and includes the Turing Award, the L'Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science International Awards, and various gongs awarded by professional or membership bodies both in the UK and elsewhere. "Winners of these awards have reached the pinnacle of their career and they have so much to offer the UK," said home secretary Priti Patel when the prestigious prize scheme launched in May. "This is exactly what our new point-based immigration system was designed for -- attracting the best and brightest based on the skills and talent they have, not where they've come from." But a freedom of information request by New Scientist has revealed that in the six months since the scheme was launched, no one working in science, engineering, the humanities or medicine has actually applied for a visa through this route.

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