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Visa Changes to Allay Scientists' Brexit Fears

In a bid to ease fears that the UK's departure from the European Union might affect its ability to attract top scientific talent, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a plan for "fast-track visas," the Financial Times reports.

"I want the UK to continue to be a global science superpower, and when we leave the EU we will support science and research and ensure that, far from losing out, the scientific community has a huge opportunity to develop and export our innovation around the world," Johnson says, according to the Financial Times.

Following the Brexit vote, researchers in the UK worried about what Britain's departure from the European Union would mean for their funding, collaboration, and other opportunities as well as how it would affect the many EU researchers working in the UK and the ability to recruit new researchers to the UK.

As the Guardian reports, Johnson's proposal to ease visa restrictions for skilled workers is vague, but could involve eliminating the cap on tier 1 exceptional talent visas, expanding the UK institutes that can sponsor candidates, and ensuring visas for dependents.

This, Nobel Laureate Andre Geim tells the Times, won't solve all the issues Brexit raises. "The government may try and reduce the barriers to entry for scientists but they cannot reduce turmoil that would be caused to science in the UK by a no-deal Brexit," he says. "Scientists are not fools. They know that turmoil is inevitable for many years."