'Office for talent' created to lure skills to UK

A cross-departmental unit to attract overseas scientists, tech innovators and researchers to the UK is to be established in the prime minister's office, the government announced on Wednesday.

The 'Office for Talent' will be set up in 10 Downing Street with aim of making it "simple, easy and quick" for foreign talents to navigate the UK immigration system.According to the government, the Office for Talent will seek to “ensure excellent customer service across the immigration system”, and help international professionals coming to the UK “better understand the opportunities on offer and break down any barriers they might face”.Creation of the new office came as part of the government's new Research and Development Roadmap aimed at cutting "unnecessary red tape" for overseas scientists, researchers and entrepreneurs, and offering a £300 million investment for upgrading the scientific infrastructure.Additionally, the government announced that, from the summer of 2021, international students who completed a PhD would be able to live and work in the UK for three years.Business Secretary Alok Sharma said: "The UK has a strong history of turning new ideas into revolutionary technologies - from penicillin to graphene and the world wide web."Our vision builds on these incredible successes to cement Britain's reputation as a global science superpower. The R&D Roadmap sets out our plan to attract global talent, cut unnecessary red tape and ensure our best minds get the support they need to solve the biggest challenges of our time."An Innovation Expert Group will also be set up to review how the government supports R&D. Additionally, the government also plans to launch an innovation fellowship programme, which will be open to both international and indigenous digital and tech talent to help deliver public services.Venki Ramakrishnan, president of the Royal Society, welcomed the government's announcement, saying the UK's scientific successes had been built on attracting talent from around the world, as well as home-grown researchers.He also welcomed the fact that the government is continuing to negotiate the nation's post-Brexit participation in the Horizon Europe research programme."Our participation in EU research programmes has benefited everyone and it is good to see the government's renewed commitment to continuing that fruitful association," he said."Maintaining the UK's position as a scientific leader is essential to our long-term success as a nation and will be crucial to rebuilding jobs and the economy as we recover from the pandemic."

Read more news and views from David Sapsted.

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