The UK's Home Office has made changes to its immigration policy that may keep scientists from going to Britain, the Guardian reports. Under the new regulations, senior scientists will be eligible for the new "exceptional talent," or tier one visas, which will be limited to 1,000 visas per year and will include artists and sports figures in addition to scientists. Other PhD scientists that have a job offer in hand would be eligible for a tier two visa and 20,700 of those visas will be given out each year. The Guardian adds that young scientists are at a particular disadvantage as academic salaries can be too low to secure a visa. In addition, visas are awarded for three-year terms while institutes are hiring researchers for longer four or five-year postdoc slots. "There are people here who are very nervous about whether they will be allowed to stay and finish their work," says Peter Rigby, the head of the Institute of Cancer Research in London, to the Guardian. "It is bound to be a disincentive for bright young things to come to this country."
"We want applicants to be chosen for their ability to contribute to the UK. Instead, researchers are being discriminated against because they chose a low-paying career," adds Imran Khan, director of the Campaign for Science and Engineering, in an editorial.