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The UK government announced that it will launch a global talent visa for scientists, researchers and mathematicians to come to the UK, with no limit on how many people can be accepted.

PM Boris Johnson has been criticised by opposition leaders for making the visa a commercial gimmick in light of Brexit, which is officially set to take place on January 31.

The Global Talent visa will be open from 20 February to those who work in a qualifying field and have been endorsed by a recognised UK body.

Boris Johnson said he wanted to emphasise "that the UK is open to the most talented minds in the world".

The PM said in his announcement that 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".

"That is why as we leave the EU I want to send a message that the UK is open to the most talented minds in the world, and stand ready to support them to turn their ideas into reality," he said.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the new plan is part of "decisive action" to maximise the number of world-class researchers given fast-tracked entry to Britain.

"Changing the name of a visa and removing a cap that's never been hit is not a serious plan," said Christine Jardine, home affairs spokesperson of the Liberal Democrats party.

According to critics, the visa is similar to the Tier 1 ‘exceptional talent’ visa it replaces. The original visa was capped at 2,000 and as per the Liberal Democrats, the cap had never been hit and the changes are only a bit more than cosmetic.

The talent visa is to ensure that suitable applicants are quickly assessed and fast-tracked and, "It sends out a positive message that the UK is committed to remaining open to overseas science talent who would collaborate with our outstanding home-grown minds," said Prof Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, president of the Royal Society.

EU researchers account for about half of the total UK scientific workforce of 211,000. They, however, don't need visas to work in British labs. But, post the Brexit transition period on December 31 2020, freedom of movement between the UK and EU is expected to end.
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