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UK offers visas for ‘exceptionally talented’ Filipinos

MANILA, Philippines—Paging “exceptionally talented” Filipinos in the fields of science, arts, engineering, the humanities and social sciences.

The United Kingdom has launched what it calls the “Exceptional Talent” special migration program, which encourages the “brightest and the best” in those branches of knowledge worldwide to live and work in the UK.

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In a statement, the UK Embassy in the Philippines announced on Thursday that “this new (migration) route for up to 1,000 exceptionally talented migrants will facilitate not only those who have already been recognized, but also those with the potential to be recognized as leaders in their respective fields.”

The program “will be overseen by world-renowned competent bodies that will advise the UK Border Agency on these exceptionally talented migrants to ensure they are the brightest and the best in their field.”

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The embassy was referring to the following bodies:

• The Royal Society, a fellowship of the world’s most eminent scientists, which was tasked to nominate up to 300 migrant applicants;

• Arts Council England, the UK’s development agency for the arts, which will be able to nominate up to 300 applicants;

• Royal Academy of Engineering, Britain’s national academy for engineering, which has up to 200 slots to nominate; and

• The British Academy, the famed UK institution for the humanities and social sciences, which can nominate up to 200 applicants.

This year, at least 500 slots worldwide will be available from August 9 to November 30, while another 500 places will be opened from December 1 to March 31, 2011, Lyn Ayers-Plata, UK embassy press and events officer, told the Inquirer.

Ayers-Plata explained that “the number of places will be evaluated at the end of the first year to determine whether or not the number of places will be revised the following year.”

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According to Ayers-Plata, “there are no immigration quotas per country.”

“The decision for endorsement is up to the competent bodies who will vouch to the UK Border Agency that, in its opinion, the migrant is exceptionally talented,” she added.

Some 250,000 Filipinos are currently based in the UK, according to British embassy. The mission, however, did not say how many of them are holding immigrant and working visas.

UK Immigration Minister Damian Green has noted “the UK is a global leader in science, humanities and engineering, and we are a cultural center for the arts.”

But Green said the UK would “continue to welcome those who have the most to offer and contribute to our society and economy.”

“Our new exceptional talent route—available for up to 1,000 applicants—will ensure that we continue to attract the brightest into the UK and keep the UK a global leader. This comes at a time of major reform of the immigration system to bring net migration back down to the tens of thousands, tackle abuses and make sure that the immigration system meets the need of the country,” he added.

Alan Davey, chief executive of Arts Council England, welcomed the launch of the special visa scheme “which will enable the very best artists of international standing to live and work in the UK.”

“The international exchange of artists enriches their art, and I’m sure audiences will welcome the opportunity to experience the finest artistic talents from across the world,” Davey said.

For his part, Sir Adam Roberts, president of the British Academy, said “the humanities and social sciences are flourishing in the UK and attract many excellent scholars from overseas.”

“The British Academy is ready to play its part in identifying those outstanding scholars for whom (the exceptional talent route) is the appropriate visa category,” Roberts added.

Sir Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society, said “the UK is a global leader in science because we can attract the best minds from around the world with our own homegrown talent.”

“The government has listened to the science community’s concerns about jeopardizing our international leadership by restricting the immigration of scientists … The Royal Society will play its part in ensuring that the very best international talente can continue to come to the UK to work,” Nurse also said.

Sir John Parker Freng, president of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said “In order to safeguard the UK’s future competitiveness, we must ensure that it remains an attractive destination for world-class engineers.”

Freng expressed confidence that “this new visa route will help encourage global excellence to come to the UK.”

Aside from the 1,000 visas for excellent talent migrants, the UK also issues visas to some 20,700 skilled professionals.

For more details about the UK’s special visa program, interested parties may check out this website.

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TAGS: Diplomacy, Features, Foreign affairs, Immigration, scholars, UK, United Kingdom, visa
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