Skip to SearchSkip to ContentSkip to Footer
Home > News and blog > FT letter: UK must remain open to highly skilled international talent

FT letter: UK must remain open to highly skilled international talent

The UK must continue to be open to highly skilled international talent if it is to compete on a global scale, business leaders, universities and charities have said today.

The leaders  including the heads of the CBI, the Royal Society and the British Medical Association – signed a letter published in the Financial Times, saying that the UK must have policies that support international collaboration and a visa and immigration system that enables organisations 'to draw from a global talent pool'.


Letter published in the Financial Times:

Sir, In the Autumn Statement, the government made clear that it recognises the fundamental value of science, research and innovation for the UK’s economic growth, productivity and global standing. However, if the UK is to compete on an international scale and become the go-to place for scientists, innovators and tech investors, it is imperative that the government also recognises and supports the crucial role of international collaboration and access to highly skilled, overseas talent.

To build on our position as a world leader in science and innovation, investment in research and development and the continued development of local skills and capability must be a priority. This must go hand in hand, however, with policies that support international collaboration. This requires a reformed visa and immigration system that enables all industries, the health service, universities and charities to draw from a global talent pool. International researchers must be able to choose the UK without facing unnecessary barriers or bureaucracy, and the UK must provide access to competitive funding and internationally collaborative networks.

Whatever our future relationship with the EU, these key ingredients for success must not be compromised. We must continue to be open to people, skills and ideas from across Europe and the world.

Dame Julia Goodfellow

President, Universities UK

Simon Walker

Director General, Institute of Directors

Carolyn Fairbairn

Director General, Confederation of British Industry

Anthony Impey

Chair of Skills and Apprenticeships, Federation of Small Businesses

Dr Adam Marshall

Director General, British Chambers of Commerce

Sir Venki Ramakrishnan

President, The Royal Society

Dr Mark Porter

Council Chair, British Medical Association

John Kampfner

CEO, Creative Industries Federation

Sir Martin Sorrell

CEO, WPP

Julian David

CEO, techUK

Jasmine Whitbread

CEO, London First

Russ Shaw

Founder, Tech London Advocates & Global Tech Advocates

Lord Karan Bilimoria

Chairman, UK India Business Council; Founder and Chairman, Cobra Beer

Sam Laidlaw

Chair, Neptune Oil & Gas; Chair, National Centre for Universities and Business

Professor Sir Keith Burnett

President, Science Council

Professor Sir John Holman

President, Royal Society of Chemistry

Dr Sarah Main

Executive Director, Campaign for Science and Engineering

Abdul Rahim

Director, Vision2020

Aisling Burnand

CEO, Association of Medical Research Charities

Janet Davies

CEO & General Secretary, Royal College of Nursing

Key Contacts

Jo Hindle

Jo Hindle

Head of Media
Universities UK

Luke Lambert

Luke Lambert

Press and Social Media Officer
Universities UK

Clara Plackett

Clara Plackett

Senior Press and Social Media Officer
Universities UK

Blog

Supporting LGBT students studying overseas

10 March 2020
Stonewall's Emma Kosmin on steps universities can take to provide support for LGBT students studying overseas.

Brexit day is here; but where next for the UK's immigration system?

31 January 2020
On the day that the UK leaves the European Union, UUK's Karmjit Kaur sets out what immigration reforms are needed to ensure the system is fit for purpose.

News

Improving links between universities and businesses will further develop societal and economic impact

24 April 2020
Universities can build on their leading role in society and develop links between UK institutions, industry and local communities by committing to better exchange of information, knowledge and skills.

​Time is running out to save Erasmus+: Losing study abroad scheme would blow a hole in UK economic prospects

9 March 2020
More than 17,000 UK university students are hoping that the UK Government can negotiate continued involvement in Erasmus+ in its trade discussions with the European Union so they can develop important and necessary skills overseas next year.