Skilled technicians must be eligible to apply for UK jobs after Brexit

Wellcome is backing calls for the government to ensure post-Brexit immigration rules will allow the UK to continue to recruit highly trained technical staff.

Close up of a person's hands doing research on a mosquito

Credit: Wellcome

Technicians are vital to the continued success of UK science and technology.

Every year, the UK needs to recruit at least 70,000 new technicians demand for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) technicians is particularly acute.

We are one of a number of research funders and education organisations today making a joint call to ensure that technicians from the European Economic Area (EEA) are eligible to work in the UK following Brexit.

Under existing non-EEA immigration rules, many highly qualified technicians are in roles which are not classified as skilled enough to be eligible for working visas.

If this same system was applied to EEA nationals post-Brexit, universities and research institutions across the UK could struggle to fill many technical roles with appropriately skilled staff.

Organisations who have signed the joint statement

  • Russell Group of Universities
  • Universities UK
  • Universities and Colleges Employers Association
  • Wellcome
  • Campaign for Science and Engineering
  • Cancer Research UK
  • Science Council
  • Institute of Cancer Research

Anne-Marie Coriat, Wellcome's Head of Research Careers, says: "In last month's Budget, the prime minister made some welcome announcements around changes to immigration rules to make it easier to attract international scientists and researchers.

"Today's joint call highlights the importance of ensuring that technicians, who are vital to the continued success of UK science and technology, are also eligible to work in the UK post-Brexit."