Worries over labour market
Student migration plan ‘disheartening’ says Chamber chief
Liz Cameron: ‘stronger proposals expected’ (pic: Terry Murden)
A business leader has expressed regret that international students are likely to remain in the migration statistics.
Liz Cameron, director and chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce said businesses will be “disheartened’ by the recommendations in the Migration Advisory Committee report.
She said: “Many in the sector will have expected stronger, more decisive policy proposals on the UK’s future approach to international student migration.
“Chambers of Commerce across Scotland and the UK have consistently called for the removal of international students from the headline migration statistics, and members will be disheartened to see that the MAC have not advocated for this.”
She added: “Those across business and higher education will have expected more substantive policy proposals, particularly when considering the current labour market conditions across the UK.
“Businesses and higher education institutions continue to call for a separate post-study work visa, and it’s clear from the labour market statistics, and our own business surveys, that vacancies and recruitment difficulties continue to hamstring UK productivity.
“We continue to urge the UK Government to consider the MAC’s recommendations, but also to go further, recognising that the landscape of the jobs market is evolving and job searchers are navigating various pathways to secure employment.”
Jane Gratton, head of business environment and skills at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Business communities around the UK will be bitterly disappointed not to see support for the removal of overseas students from the immigration statistics.
“We have been calling for the removal of these students from the immigration figures for a long time as the vast majority go home after completing their courses.
“The committee is right to recommend that it should be easier for overseas students to work here at the end of their studies.
“International students benefit local economies up and down the country, not only through their direct spending power, but also through their skills, languages and cultural awareness. At a time when three quarters of firms are struggling to fill job vacancies, it makes sense to attract and harness the talent of international students.
“”It’s time to scrap the caps and arbitrary numerical targets. It’s one thing to control migration, but quite another to use arbitrary mechanisms that deny businesses, universities and public sector employers the people they need to address immediate skills gaps.
“The government should also restore a post-a study work visa that allows British universities and companies to benefit from the energy of some of the people they have trained.
“Now more than ever, the UK should be striving to attract the brightest talent from around the world, and our future immigration policy should reflect that instead of a fixation with targets.”