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New Immigration Rules Threaten U.K.'s STEM Workforce

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statue atop the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales

The rules are related to government efforts to lower immigration.

Credit: Shutterstock

The U.K. government has raised the minimum salary threshold for overseas workers by nearly 50%, threatening research teams hoping to bring in foreign talent.

The new threshold stands at £36,700 (US$46,301), markedly higher than the old annual salary requirement of £26,200 (US$33,055). The move is intended to encourage businesses to "look to British talent first and invest in their workforce, helping us to deter employers from over-relying on migration," said home secretary James Cleverly.

The new rules, to be introduced next spring, have angered some in the scientific community.

Martin Bauer, a professor at Durham University, said that the new earnings threshold is higher than the average starting salary for post-doctoral researchers. "I hope the prime minister is aware that salaries of postdoctoral researchers have reached such a low level in this country that this law would make it impossible for U.K. scientists to employ international experts," Bauer wrote on X.

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