The SNP’s Westminster Spokesperson for Education has called on the UK Government to reinstate the post-study work visa, saying that the UK has one of the least competitive policies on post-study work in the English-speaking world.
Challenging the Minister for Universities, Carol Monaghan MP also called for the removal of international students from the UK Government’s net migration figures, which she described as ‘utterly discredited’.
Universities Scotland have warned that Scotland is losing out in the recruitment of international students to Australia, New Zealand, America and Canada because the UK’s current student immigration policy is to the detriment of our universities, economy, businesses and industry. International students generate over £800 million of income every year, and fill our high-skill shortages across a number of sectors which are not met by UK and EU-domiciled people.
UK Government estimates previously suggested up to 90,000 people a year fail to leave when their student permissions run out. But in August, it was revealed by data compiled from exit checks that the true number is around 4,600.
In response, Universities Minister Jo Johnson MP made reference to a pilot scheme to reintroduce the post-study work visa which is currently rolled out at four universities in England. Monaghan has previously said Scotland were ‘deliberately snubbed’ from this scheme, despite pressure from across the political spectrum. In November 2016, Monaghan asked the Minister when this scheme will be extended to Scottish Higher Education institutions, only for him to fail to answer the question no fewer than five times.