12 Comments

  1. Yasmine

    For a scientist, you seem oddly fond of strawman arguments.
    The difficulty you have accessing the UK is because you’re a non-EU national. If we leave, two things are possible: either we can leave the immigration system as it is, in which case things will get no worse, or we can change it, in which case we can change it to give all foreign STEM students an easier time coming here, since there will no longer be a reason to give preference to those from Europe.
    You seem to be assuming that if we vote leave, it will inevitably lead to tougher immigration conditions for you, which is almost certainly untrue. The fact is, it’s more likely things will improve, as the government will have cause to reconsider the rules.

    • Alexis Webb

      My argument is not an assumption about the change in immigration rules for me, but how a vote to leave will affect everyone. Science is about the community, not the individual. And removing free movement for some of scientists will likely have a major impact on the entire community.

      You’re right that we don’t know how the immigration rules will change after the referendum. But I do know from experience that large cost and the months of waiting for a visa for non-EU nationals is a deterrent from the best researchers coming to the UK.

    • AK

      I would like to see the evidence for your assumption that immigration will not become tougher for any non-British researcher. A sweeping immigration reform is not going to be partial to the small minority of researchers within the immigrant pool.

      Non-EU immigrant researchers are the last people on the minds of people on the policy front-line. Yet they are fully exposed to the effects of #postrefracism and uncertainty of future in a shrinking pool of research funding.

      As for the non-EU STEM students, I wonder what makes you think that the policy is hindered by giving preference to EU students. If it changes, the only change would be that EU STEM students are treated like non-EU STEM students, i.e. fees which are a lot higher than for home students.

  2. Andrew Platt

    Exit negotiations have not even begun yet so let us not pre-judge what the outcome will be. The free movement of scientists and students benefits everyone in the UK, the EU and internationally. If politicians recognise that then there is no reason to believe that the immigration situation with respect to these groups will be any worse after we leave the EU than it is now, and every reason to believe it might even improve. The free movement of unskilled people does not provide benefit to science or the wider community and as the EU is unfortunately wedded to this principle it is necessary to leave if we wish to take back control.

    • Lincoln Phipps

      Andrew,

      On the contrary – the free movement of even not-so-skilled and unskilled people does provide benefit to science and the wider community.

      It is possible when you are not “scienceing” that in your spare time you do all the unskilled work of delivering mail and parcels, sweep floors, clean toilets, deliver food, remove vermin, paint and decorate, clean windows, provide security, clean dishes, order goods, order services, clean paths and roadways and groundskeep.

      You don’t do you ?

      They may be lower skilled than a research scientist but the contribution is the person does a job and is paid and in being paid not only allows the scientists to do their jobs but the unskilled worker also contributes taxes and so provides the tax base that pays for the science which you think is isolated from these other workers.

      You want freedom for some who you see as desirable, but restrictions for others who you look down on as “unskilled”.

      One of the achievements and goals of the EU is an equalization of wealth of regions and key to that is freedom of movement of people.
      Arrogantly you do not want the unskilled, whom, truth be told, you feel are a lower class from scientists, to be part of this equalization though they are the very reason for the equalization.

      You want world class International scientists to be able to walk in but want to constrain everyone else to be domestics.

      That is not taking back control; that is building a New Wall to constrain freedom. It didn’t work for Soviets in East Germany and the buffer states it won’t work for the British Nativists in England.

      • Andrew Platt

        I do not “look down on” those who are unskilled.

        We have plenty of unskilled labour in Britain. Importing more of it from abroad makes no economic sense. By creating more supply than demand it drives down wages and creates unemployment. Meanwhile, who is cleaning toilets, sweeping the floor and delivering mail in the countries that have been vacated by these economic migrants?

        It is easy for someone whose job is not under threat to see cheap imported labour as a benefit. Is it any wonder Remain is supported largely by the out-of-touch upper and middle classes while Leave is the domain of the so-called working class? If that is even partly true then I have never been more proud of my working class roots.

        Talk of a “New Wall to constrain freedom” is hyperbole. Most countries on earth are not in the EU and all of them protect their domestic labour market by restricting immigrants in one way or another. Toilet cleaners, postmen and road sweepers cannot just decide to go and live and work in the USA, Canada, New Zealand or Japan. Yet do you accuse these countries of building a wall to constrain freedom?

        As for equalisation of the wealth of regions, count me out. Why would I want Britain to become poorer so that Romania can become richer? It is one thing to provide charitable foreign aid, quite another to deliberately diminish your country’s wealth to a lowest common denominator. So much for Remain’s claims on the economy!

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