Leading Professors show disdain towards immigration policies

Oct 8, 2014

Professor Andrew Hamilton, vice-chancellor of Oxford University and Professor John O’Keefe, recent Nobel Prize Winner for his research into the brain’s ability to create a map of its surroundings and navigate it, have vehemently criticised the UK’s immigration policy. Both are of the opinion that its stringent nature is restricting our acquisition of the top talent from overseas.

The Financial Times reports that Professor Hamilton, speaking at his annual oration to the university, said that when he travelled abroad, “one question persists – why has the UK adopted a visa system so hostile to student entry?” It has become a well versed belief that the government’s desire to tighten the student visa system is detrimental to most universities’ ability to recruit gifted and economically valuable students.

He also goes on to add, “there are few votes in restricting overseas student numbers”, and that this realisation needs to be, “welcomed and encouraged ahead of the election.”

Nobel Prize Winner Professor John O’Keefe holds a similar opinion on UK immigration. Quoted in an article on the BBC, he suggests that, “we should be thinking hard about making Britain a more welcoming place.” He believes that the immigration rules are a genuine hindrance when it comes to hiring the best scientists worldwide.

“Science is international, the best scientists can come from anywhere, they can come from next door or they can come from a small village in a country anywhere in the world – we need to make it easier.”

The Home Office have suggested that the introduction of a new “exceptional talent” visa would facilitate the migration of “world leaders” in science to the UK. However, and similarly with the student visa route, the UK needs to become more welcoming and less hostile to the best overseas talent. There is little doubt that the immigration debate in the run up to next year’s election has begun….