Give vetting system a boost

December 18, 2008

Bill Rammell's defence of the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (Atas) did not address the issue of its being underresourced ("Rammell backs vetting system: it's here to stay", 4 December). For the UK to remain internationally competitive in attracting promising science and engineering graduate students, the Government needs to ensure that Atas and the new points-based system for immigration are efficiently administered and properly resourced.

A recent parliamentary question revealed that there were only three members of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Counter Proliferation Department who work in the Atas team. Clearly the scheme is underresourced as the FCO said there were delays in issuing certificates due to the volume of applications.

During the review of the scheme due to take place in the new year, it is critical that resource levels are considered so that the scheme protects both national security and the international standing of the UK's postgraduate training.

Nick Dusic
Director, Campaign for Science and Engineering

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