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October 8, 2010

Migrant cap to harm UK science: Nobel winners

National

October 8, 2010

LONDON: The government’s cap on immigration will jeopardise Britain’s future as a centre of excellence for scientific research, a group of Nobel prize-winning researchers has said.
The cap limits the number of skilled workers with a job offer allowed into Britain. It is a temporary measure introduced in June ahead of a permanent ceiling on migrants from outside the European Union to be set in April 2011. “(The cap) would damage our ability to recruit the brightest young talent, as well as distinguished scientists, into our universities and industries,” the eight Nobel Prize winners wrote in a letter to the Times newspaper.
The scientists said international collaborations underlie 40 per cent of the UK’s scientific output and would become more difficult with the greater border restrictions in place.
“The UK must not isolate itself from the increasingly globalised world of research – British science depends on it,” they wrote.
Immigration Minister Damien Green said the government had held a consultation on how the limit should work.
“We will continue to attract and retain the brightest and the best people who can make a real difference to our economic growth, but unlimited migration places unacceptable pressure on public services,” he said. The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), whose head Vince Cable has been an outspoken critic of the migration limit, said it was working with the Home Office to make sure the cap was flexible.

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