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UK visa restrictions counterproductive

Association of University Staff


Media Release

UK visa restrictions for academics counterproductive, say university staff

Moves to reduce the free movement of academics into Britain have been labeled as counterproductive and unnecessarily restrictive, according to the Association of University Staff (AUS).

At present, academics can enter Britain for a period of up to twelve months visa-free, but in proposed widespread changes to immigration rules, the British government is planning to limit that period to three months.

AUS national president, Associate Professor Maureen Montgomery, says that academic staff work in a highly-mobile international market, and the free exchange of academics between countries is necessary in order to advance research and the world’s knowledge base. “Any moves to make it more difficult for New Zealand academics to enter Britain are not only unnecessarily bureaucratic, but it would be counter-productive because they will impede collaboration on internationally important research between New Zealand and British academics,” she said.

Associate Professor Montgomery said that universities recruit as many as 60 percent of new staff from overseas countries and any restriction on the immigration of academics would compound a forecast staff recruitment and retention crisis in British universities by the end of this decade.

“It appears that the motivation for the planned changes comes from the fear of an increased number of illegal immigrants to Britain, but there is no evidence to suggest that New Zealand academics pose any sort of risk,” Associate Professor Montgomery said.

The AUS supports moves by the New Zealand government to oppose the proposed new immigration rules.



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