Academia hits out at immigration cap

By Ian Dunt

A team of eight Nobel-winning academics has called on the government to rethink the upcoming immigration cap.

The researchers said that the UK’s reputation as a centre of intellectual excellence will be hit by the cap, which has already provoked the ire of business and senior government figures.

The team demanded that academics be given the same exemption from the cap as Premier League footballers.

“The government has seen fit to introduce an exception to the rules for Premier League footballers. It is a sad reflection of our priorities as a nation if we cannot afford the same recognition for elite scientists and engineers,” the letter to the Times reads.

The group includes two Russians immigrants who won the prize for physics earlier this week.

The current cap on work visas for non-EU citizens stands at 24,100 and lasts until April, when it will be replaced by a permanent measure.

But business secretary Vince Cable is openly opposed to the idea, saying it could damage business and the sciences.

The signatories to the letter were: Andre Geim, Konstantin Novoselov, Sir Paul Nurse, Sir Tim Hunt, Sir Martin Evans, Sir Harry Kroto, Sir John Walker and Sir John Sulston.