Scottish Government

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Visa dismay for international top talent

Minister for International Development and Europe Alasdair Allan will meet with the UK Government to press for answers after the Scottish Affairs Committee has become the latest body to express its disappointment at the UK Government’s decision not to reconsider a post-study work visa.

The Scottish Affairs Committee at Westminster has criticised the UK Government’s decision not to listen to stakeholder views about post-study work routes in Scotland. Dr Allan has pressed the UK Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill for an urgent meeting to discuss this ‘extremely disappointing and mystifying decision’, which Mr Goodwill has agreed to.

Despite cross party support and backing from businesses, colleges and universities in Scotland, the UK Government has ruled out the return of a post-study work visa, which allowed international students from outside the EU to remain in Scotland and work after graduation.

Dr Allan said:

“We are dismayed that the UK Government has again chosen to ignore a wide range of interests and concerns in Scotland. There is consensus in Scotland, amongst business, education and every political party in Holyrood that we need a return of a post study route to allow talented students to remain and contribute to the Scottish economy.

“The evidence provided on this issue to the Scottish Affairs Committee was clear – and it is time that the UK Government started listening to Scotland and providing an immigration system that meets our needs.

“Scotland’s immigration needs are different to the rest of the UK and the return of a post-study work visa would be an important economic lever to Scotland. It is essential that we can enable businesses to attract and access the skills and talent needed to boost Scotland’s long-term competiveness.

“We have pressed the UK Government for a number of months to meet with us and discuss this issue further and I look forward to hearing what Mr Goodwill has to say to justify this extremely disappointing and mystifying decision.”

Notes to editors