A top international scientist has been forced to turn down a job at Cambridge University – after being refused a working visa by immigration chiefs.
Dr Prashant Jain was offered a fellowship by the Department of Materials and Metallurgy to continue his research work.
But the UK Border Agency refused to issue a visa because Dr Jain failed to secure enough points in a quota aimed at keeping unskilled workers out of the country.
His PhD in materials sciences entitles him to 45 immigration points but he needs to reach 75 to qualify for a visa.
The leading scientist’s case comes just days after eight British Nobel Prize laureates warned Government caps are damaging scientific excellence.
Dr Jain said: ”I really wanted to work at the University of Cambridge and was quite disappointed when my visa was denied.
”I feel that the issue of visa regulations is a critical one for international researchers, who, like me, are offered a position in a UK institution but depend on a visa to take up the position.
”I was looking forward to coming to Cambridge to start as a postdoctoral fellow but due to the visa issues was forced into an uncertain position in terms of my future.
”As I was unable to come to the UK, I have returned to Florida State University while I apply for other research positions.
”I plan to continue my research in the US, considering the difficulties with taking up positions in the UK.”
To secure 75 points Dr Jain would need to show proof of an annual salary of £25,000 which is beyond the wage typical researchers earn at an early stage in their careers.
This week eight British Nobel Prize laureates, including Prof Sir John Walker, Fellow of Sidney Sussex College, signed a letter to The Times warning immigration caps are damaging Britain’s reputation.
Britain handed out around 161,000 working visas between June 2009 and June 2010 and 360,000 student visas during the same period of time.
A study compiled by MigrationWatch in April revealed 1.1m illegal immigrants living in UK, which was twice the government estimate.
The report concluded there are thought to be a further 60,000 ‘overstayers’ compared to the government’s official figure of 10,000.