AN “overwhelming” number of businesses and education sector specialists have called for border controls to be relaxed so students from outside Europe can stay and work in Britain, according to the Scottish Government.
The SNP-appointed Post-Study Work group has recommended the reintroduction of the work visa, which was abolished by the UK Government in 2012.
Europe and International Development Minister Humza Yousaf said: “This report demonstrates overwhelming support from Scotland’s business and education sectors for the reintroduction of the post-study work visa for overseas graduates - something the Scottish Government has repeatedly called for.
“We need to grow our working-age population to support and strengthen our economy. So we must be able to attract and retain world-class talent to fill vacancies which cannot be filled by resident workers.
“This report recognises that the post-study work visa is an important lever for attracting the best international student talent, securing essential income streams, and allowing talented graduates to continue contributing to Scotland after their studies end.
“The report makes clear the benefits that our education institutions, communities and economy enjoyed when previous post-study work routes operated in Scotland, and the negative impact we’ve seen since they were closed by the UK Government in 2012.
“The Scottish Government opposed the closure of the post-study work visa and we have consistently argued for its reintroduction. We will continue to press the UK Government on this point.
“We welcome the Smith Commission’s view that the UK and Scottish Governments should work together to explore a potential new post-study work scheme for Scotland and will make every effort to work with the UK Government to ensure that such a route is re-established in Scotland. Today’s report is a clear indication that business and education in Scotland are equally keen to see the reintroduction of post-study work visas.
“Immigration policy is currently too heavily influenced by the priorities of the south-east of England, based on the values of the current UK Government and driven by a desire to reduce the numbers of incoming migrants which does not recognise Scotland’s needs and does not serve our economic or societal interests.
“Scotland’s needs are different to those in the rest of the UK. Scotland has a large, established migrant community and the Scottish Government welcomes the contribution new Scots are making to our economy and society.”
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