ABPI response to new UK immigration system
The UK Government has launched a new points-based immigration system which will assign points for specific skills, qualifications, salaries or professions. The new rules are set to take effect from 1 January 2021.
Today’s changes should allow our members in the UK to continue to attract the experts they need – wherever they’re from – to fill the highly-skilled roles vital to making the UK a global life sciences hub. Andrew Croydon
In response, Andrew Croydon, Director of Skills & Education Policy at the ABPI, said:
“Science is a global endeavour and benefits from utilising skills from an international talent pool. Today’s changes should allow our members in the UK to continue to attract the experts they need – wherever they’re from – to fill the highly-skilled roles vital to making the UK a global life sciences hub.
“We will work with the Home Office as they implement this system, making sure the rules reflect the changing nature of our sector and are flexible enough to keep us competitive in the future.”
What does the new system mean for the life sciences sector?
The ABPI has been calling for a UK immigration system which is fair, transparent and allows access to the best global talent.
Changing the rules about how companies can hire and move skilled people is particularly important for the pharmaceutical industry as it seeks to make the UK a globally competitive hub for life science and grapples with the evolving skills shortages.
With 6,000 businesses in the life sciences sector competing for highly skilled scientists, the Government’s new immigration system includes:
- Provisions to give top priority to people with the highest skills, including scientists, engineers and academics, treating the EU and non-EU citizens the same.
- A global talent scheme opened up to EU citizens which will allow highly skilled scientists and researchers to come to the UK without a job offer
- Applicants being able to ‘trade’ characteristics such as their specific job offer and qualifications against a salary lower than the minimum salary or the ‘going rate’ in their field
- Student visa routes will be points-based and open to EU citizens
- A regularly reviewed shortage occupations list
- Requirements for new entrants will be set 30% lower than the rate for experienced workers in any occupation and will only use the base salary (and not the allowances or pension contributions), to determine whether the salary threshold is met.
For our sector to remain competitive it will be essential for the points system to be reviewed regularly to account for the changing nature of medicines research and development. We look forward to working with the Home Office as these rules evolve.
- Migration Advisory Committee
Last modified: 20 September 2023
Last reviewed: 20 September 2023