UK risks exodus of science firms with hard-line immigration stance
Science and technology businesses are bailing out of the UK amid strict limitations on visas for oversees talent.
One in six firms have plans to relocate abroad over the next three years, according to research by consultancy Ridge and Partners, with nearly a third of businesses polled being hit by the government’s visa limits.
Liz Sparrow, who led on the research, told City A.M. that the current restrictions on employing foreign talent is “acting as a real brake on growth”.
“The science companies we studied have ambitious growth plans, but they can’t grow without the right people in place,” she explained. “First-up must be looking at the restriction on companies employing foreign talent.
“Our science communities need joined-up masterplans not ad hoc policy moves.”
The potential exodus of British science comes amid a report by The Sun, that new home secretary Suella Braverman has been cut out of immigration reform planning as prime minister Liz Truss seeks to ease visa rules as part of her growth strategy.
Tory MPs concerned over local businesses struggling to find staff have reportedly been redirected to the Cabinet Office and Business Department.
The Liz Truss’ spokesperson said yesterday that he did not recognise the report, adding that the prime minister and home secretary agree on immigration.
Braverman has offered a particularly hard-line response to increased immigration, which could derail Britain’s post-Brexit trade deal with New Delhi, it was reported yesterday.
The home secretary aired concerns about the deal last week because it might increase migration, telling the Spectator “the largest group of people who overstay are Indian migrants”.
A source in Delhi told The Times they were “shocked and disappointed” by the remarks, branding them disrespectful, while a government source said it had set the relationship a “step back”.
“There’s still a lot of goodwill but if certain individuals are still embedded in the government it will paralyse the talks.”