UK Government dodge post-study work visa questions

Scottish National Party MPs have condemned the UK Government for failing to provide any coherent answers regarding the reintroduction of the post-study work visa to Scotland.

At Education Questions at Westminster today, SNP MPs asked Universities Minister Jo Johnson MP when the successful scheme will be extended to Scottish Higher Education institutions, only for him to fail to answer the question no fewer than five times.

The Scottish Affairs Committee concluded in February that the scrapping of the UK-wide visa scheme in 2012 had made Scotland a less attractive destination to study, with the number of non-EU students remaining in Scotland after graduation falling by over 80%.

Despite pressure from across the political parties in Scotland, the UK Government excluded Scotland from a pilot scheme currently rolled out at four universities in England.

Carol Monaghan, SNP Westminster Education Spokesperson said:

“The UK Government have shown a complete disregard for Scotland’s Higher Education sector, having repeatedly failed to provide any coherent answers as to when we can expect the post-study work visa scheme, currently being piloted in England, to be widened to include Scottish Higher Education institutions.

“Given that Edinburgh University is currently 27th in the Times World Rankings, and Glasgow is 88th – 200 places higher than Bath which was included on the pilot – the Scottish Higher Education sector need answers as to why Scotland has been deliberately snubbed from this scheme.

“The SNP group at Westminster have consistently and unanimously called for the reinstatement of post-study work visas, which allow talented graduates with key skills to remain in Scotland after graduation, helping us grow our working age population and strengthening our economy.

“If this Tory Government is truly committed to Higher Education in Scotland, they must stop dodging these questions and listen to the concerns of every main political party in Scotland, the education sector, trade unions and businesses who are united behind a return of this vital post-study route.”