The MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge. Picture shows - refrigerated Organoids or Minibrains which are tiny, self-organized three-dimensional tissue cultures that are derived from stem cells. Such cultures can be crafted to replicate much of the complexity of an organ, or to express selected aspects of it like producing only certain types of cells.
Lab technicians are essential to the UK's world-leading research and innovation © Si Barber/FT

Your report “ May defies business fears to push through Brexit immigration curbs” (December 19) cites sectors that could be affected by the £30,000 minimum salary for skilled migrants proposed for consultation in the white paper on immigration. Elsewhere it has been said that salary is not always a reflection of skill. This is true, too, of the UK’s higher education and research landscape.

Many employees with highly specialised skills would not make the £30,000 mark. Language assistants, for example, are crucial for the delivery of modern foreign language teaching — essential to our nation’s prosperity post-Brexit and the government’s ambition to build a “global Britain”. Another group is lab technicians, essential to the world-leading research and innovation of all kinds carried out in universities and industries across the UK.

We must look outwards and continue to be competitive in attracting and retaining the world’s brightest, if we are to maintain our prestigious status as a centre of world-class universities and research. The nation’s immigration strategy and systems should support that aim.

Alun Evans
Chief Executive,
The British Academy,
London SW1, UK

Get alerts on Letter when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window)