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UK introduces new fast-track visa to attract scientists

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street to attend the weekley session of Prime Ministers Questions in Parliament in London, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street to attend the weekley session of Prime Ministers Questions in Parliament in London, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)


LONDON – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson introduced a new fast-track visa to attract more of the world’s best scientists to the U.K. in hopes of creating a global science “superpower.”

Johnson paired the announcement of the Global Talent route program with a pledge of 300 million pounds ($392 million) for research into advanced mathematics. The money will help fund researchers and doctoral students whose work in math underpins myriad developments such as safer air travel, smart phone technology and artificial intelligence.

The new visa route will have no cap on the number of people able to come to the U.K. under the program. It starts next month.

“The UK has a proud history of scientific discovery, but to lead the field and face the challenges of the future we need to continue to invest in talent and cutting edge research,'' Johnson said in a statement. “That is why as we leave the EU, I want to send a message that the U.K. is open to the most talented minds in the world, and stand ready to support them to turn their ideas into reality.”

Britain is facing its biggest immigration shake-up in decades after it leaves the EU Friday.

After Brexit, EU citizens will lose the automatic right to live and work in the U.K., and Britons to settle in the bloc’s 27 remaining nations.

That has sparked fears Britain may face shortages in key job areas.