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Are visa reforms attracting ‘the best and the brightest’ from overseas?

Researchers at Loughborough University have embarked on a project to explore whether new visa regulations are encouraging the best and the brightest overseas students to set up businesses in Britain.

Tier 1 visas, introduced into the UK in 2008 as part of its points-based system, are designed to attract high-value migrants. Tier 1 includes five categories, two of which - Graduate entrepreneur and Exceptional talent - are included in this study.

The Graduate entrepreneur visa was introduced last year and allows non-European MBA and other graduates to extend their stay after graduation to establish one or more businesses in the UK. Exceptional talent is for people who are internationally recognised as world leaders or potential world-leading talent in the fields of science and the arts, who want to work in the UK.

Dr Adam Warren and Dr Liz Mavroudi from Loughborough University’s Department of Geography are speaking to individuals and organisations that advise potential Tier 1 applicants, as well as the applicants themselves at universities across London and the Midlands.

They hope to understand the perceptions of these ‘high value’ migrants and their experiences of applying to work in the UK via the Tier 1 route, investigate how the new visas are being implemented and managed at institutional level, and examine how these changes contribute to the UK policy of attracting ‘the best and the brightest’.

Dr Warren said:

“By speaking to individuals from across the application process we hope to better understand how Tier 1 visas work in practice, and evaluate whether they are effective in attracting high value migrants and encouraging them to stay in the UK. Ultimately, we hope this study will contribute to Government policymaking in this area.”  

This study builds on previous work by Warren and Mavroudi on skilled migrants and entrepreneurship in the UK.