Rishi Sunak announces new 'high skilled' migrant visa in Budget to attract world's 'best talent' to help rebuild economy

RISHI Sunak has announced visa reforms to attract 'highly skilled' migrants to Britain to help rebuild the nation's economy.

The Chancellor unveiled the plans during his Budget speech today as he unveiled a bumper £65 billion package to get Britain back on track following the Covid crisis.

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Mr Sunak told MPs he wanted Britain to attract 'international talent' in areas such as science and tech to make the country a global hub for innovation.

He said: "A new unsponsored points-based visa to attract the best and most promising international talent in science, research and tech, new, improved visa processes for scale-ups and entrepreneurs, and radically simplified bureaucracy for high-skilled visa applications."

To help firms access funds to grow, Mr Sunak said a new fund would be launched to allow them 'unlock' billions from pension funds for new investment.

He told the Commons steps will be taken to give the pensions industry "more flexibility to unlock billions of pounds from pension funds into innovative new ventures" via the "Future Fund Breakthrough".

Britain introduced a points-based immigration system after Brexit with Priti Patel vowing to attract "the best and the brightest" to the country from across the world.

Under previous membership of the European Union, freedom of movement between member states meant EU citizens had the right to work and live in the UK without any application process.

Critics said it meant talented workers from outside Europe were unfairly penalised and companies were deterred from hiring them.

Last year migration saw the UK population increased by around 330,000 butthe number of EU citizens moving to Britain slumped to 58,000 from a high of more than 200,000 in 2015.

Mr Sunak, unveiling only his second Budget since being appointed Chancellor last year, said he would extend a range of measures including an extension of furlough, stamp duty cuts and more to get the nation back on its feet.

He promised to help struggling Brits with "more support to get people through to the other side of the crisis".

He told the House of Commons: "Much has changed. But one thing has stayed the same. I said I would do whatever it takes; I have done; and I will do."

Earlier today the Chancellor addressed Cabinet alongside the PM, saying that "the coronavirus pandemic has hit our economy hard".

But he admitted that he was "optimistic about our recovery" and promised that the Budget today would "begin the work of building our future economy".

Yet he stressed the nation must not forget how much cash has been borrowed "on an extraordinary scale – equivalent only to wartime levels".

He insisted: "As a Conservative Government, we know that we cannot ignore this problem and it wouldn't be right or responsible to do so.

"We will rise to that challenge".

He added however, that "repairing long term damage will take time".

He also warned today that the time to get the nation's books in order is rapidly approaching.

Only once the economy is on a better footing will he start his plans to fix the public finances in earnest.

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