EU urges the UK to simplify the visa process for scientists to maximize benefits from the Horizon Europe program. Talks aim to address visa costs and enhance scientific collaboration.
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Making Visa Rules Simpler for Scientists
The European Union (EU) plans to talk to the United Kingdom (UK) on Monday about making it easier for scientists to visit the UK. They say this is necessary so the UK can get the most out of the Horizon Europe research program.
EU Research Commissioner Iliana Ivanova will meet UK officials, including Michelle Donelan, who looks after science, innovation, and technology in the UK. They will talk in London, celebrating the UK joining Horizon again. Ivanova mentioned some problems with European researchers facing visa issues and high costs, which she plans to discuss.
The Problem with Visas
The visa issue is a big problem for the UK’s hopes of rejoining Horizon. Horizon is a huge research program with a budget of €93 billion and nearly 90 participating countries. The UK left the program when it left the EU in 2020 but joined again last year. However, the UK’s strict and expensive visa system makes things difficult.
Scientists Speak Up
Scientists in the UK are unhappy because the UK’s system for bringing in top talent from other countries is expensive. The government recently made it even more expensive by raising health charges and visa fees. This has led to complaints from science organizations, calling the fees a “punitive tax on talent.”
The Cost of Coming to the UK
Research shows that the UK is more expensive than other countries for scientists wanting to come to work there. For example, the cost for a researcher to come on a five-year visa has increased a lot, and it is even more expensive for a family of five.
What EU Countries Think
Some EU countries want a deal with the UK that makes it easier for people to move between the UK and EU for work, like research and development. They also want the UK to stop charging health charges to people coming to work.
The UK’s Response
The UK government says its visa system is meant to balance bringing talent with controlling immigration. They say they are still open to talented people worldwide and want to keep the UK as a top place for new technologies.
As these talks happen, the main goal is to solve these visa problems so the UK can fully benefit from being part of Horizon. The EU and the UK seem ready to find solutions to make it easier for scientists to work together.