Scottish Parliament united on post-study work visas

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Pete Wishart MP is chair of the SAC. Photo: DC Thomson.

MSPs from all parties in Holyrood are united behind calls by a House of Commons committee for a lengthening of post-study work visas in Scotland for non-EU students.

This blog reported in December the Scottish Affairs Committee (SAC) met in Aberdeen to discuss the issue after the UK Government scrapped the Post-Work visa scheme in 2012.

The calls came from the House of Commons Committee, and are supported by the likes of Edinburgh University, who warned of a “brain drain” on Scotland’s university talent as graduates take their skills abroad.

The current legislation means students with Tier 4 work visas are allowed just four months to leave the country following graduation. The new proposals would see the time extended to two years.

There is concern in Scotland over a skills shortage in the country, which differs to that of the rest of the UK.

Scotland’s lower birth rate, and skills gaps looming in the areas of health, energy and finance.

Committee chair Pete Wishart MP said: “We currently have a situation where people come to Scotland from around the world to spend three or four years here being educated and becoming settled in our society.

“We raise unnecessary barriers preventing these talented individuals from staying and contributing to our economy.”

The Committee cited a report showing an 80% drop in non-EU students remaining in the UK after graduation.

Scottish Secretary David Mundell said the door has not closed on a possible reinstating of the Post-Study work visas for graduates: “We will look at any reasonable suggestion to improve the current arrangements.

“If the report shows that there are measures we can take to improve the situation in Scotland then of course we will take that forward.”

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