Call to reinstate initiative
Westminster under attack for sending students home
Westminster has been criticised for resisting calls for overseas students to be encouraged to stay in Scotland after completing their studies.
SNP ministers, universities and businesses want to the return of a post-study work visa system which would allow students from outside the EU to remain in Britain and work for a limited period.
The programme was axed by Westminster three years ago, despite claims that it would boost the economy by keeping more talented individuals in the country.
A survey found that 85% of Scottish businesses and educational institutions supported retaining the scheme.
On Twitter, property businessman Dan MacDonald said it was an unacceptable position to take and criticised those who encouraged students to study here then sent them home.
The decision was described by Scottish Minister for Europe and International Development Humza Yousaf as “deeply disappointing and damaging to Scotland”.
It was made without Scottish stakeholder discussions and before key reports on post study work are published by the UK Parliament’s Scottish Affairs Committee and the Post Study Work Steering Group.
The Scottish Government has been campaigning for a return of the visa, which allowed international students to remain in Scotland and work after graduation.
The call has been backed by businesses, colleges and universities, and has cross party support in the Scottish Parliament amongst every political party represented in Holyrood.
Mr Yousaf (right) will tomorrow (13th January) chair a meeting of the cross party steering group on the post study work visa, and the group will consider the implications of the UK Government’s decision. The UK Parliament’s Scottish Affairs Committee is also currently holding an inquiry on the issue, and last week the Secretary of State for Scotland told parliament he was looking forward to its report.
Humza Yousaf said: “I am deeply disappointed and angered that the UK Government has ruled out a return of the Post Study Work Visa.
“Scotland has different immigration needs to the rest the UK. There is consensus in Scotland, amongst business, education institutes and across the political spectrum, that we need a return of the post-study route to allow talented students to remain and contribute to the Scottish economy.
“By ruling out a return of this route, the UK Government has ignored this consensus and the recommendations of the Smith Commission, and dismissed Scotland’s call to positively and meaningfully engage on this issue.
“Tomorrow I will chair the cross party steering group on the post study work visa. We will consider this disappointing decision from the UK Government and what action we can take to pursue Scotland’s interests.
A statement of support for reintroducing a post study work visa to Scotland has gathered 265 signatures, including all 25 of Scotland’s publically funded colleges; the sector body Colleges Scotland; Universities Scotland, the representative body for Scotland’s 19 Higher Education Institutions, and representatives from 64 businesses.
Reintroduction of the visa has received cross-party support in the Scottish Parliament. Mr Yousaf chairs a cross-party steering group on post study work whose members are:
• Liz Smith MSP (Conservative)
• Liam McArthur MSP (Liberal Democrat)
• Claire Baker MSP (Labour)
• John Finnie MSP (on behalf of the Green Party)
• Institute of Directors (IoD)
• Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI)
• Colleges Scotland
• National Union of Students (NUS Scotland)
• Scottish Universities International Group (SUIG)
• Universities Scotland
• UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA)
• Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC)
• Scottish Chambers of Commerce