Agreement on immigration changes for Scottish higher education

Parliament calls on UK Government to extend leave to remain and reintroduce post-study work visa.

The UK Government’s proposed immigration policies will be “deeply damaging” and should “respect Scotland”, according to a motion passed by the Scottish Parliament.

MSPs today agreed that the UK Government should extend its proposed “no deal” Brexit leave to remain policy from three years to a minimum of four years to allow students to finish undergraduate degrees.

They also agreed the UK Government should reintroduce a two-year post-study work visa to allow international students to remain in Scotland after their studies. 

Higher Education Minister Richard Lochhead said:

“The UK Government’s migration policy will be like a wrecking ball to our world class institutions, putting us at a competitive disadvantage and making Scotland a far less attractive for globally mobile researchers, students and staff. The UK Government’s approach, including a £30,000 salary threshold for skilled staff, would disrupt recruitment and risks making the UK unattractive for talented workers and students alike.

“Scotland urgently needs a migration policy tailored to our distinct needs. With Parliament now agreed, it is up to the UK Government to respect our distinct system and extend their ‘no deal’ leave to remain to a minimum of four years, and to reintroduce a two year post-study work visa for students in Scotland.”

Motion as agreed to:

The impact of the UK Government's Planned Immigration Policy and Mobility Restrictions on Scotland's University and Scientific Research Sectors

That the Parliament notes that the UK Government’s proposed immigration policies will be deeply damaging to Scotland’s further education, higher education and research sectors; joins with Scottish institutions and the Russell Group in raising serious concerns about the impact of the three-year European Temporary Leave to Remain policy, which was announced in September 2019, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, which discriminates against Scottish institutions and students in Scotland studying for four-year degrees; welcomes the huge contribution that international staff and students make to Scotland’s universities, colleges and research institutions, as well as the country's economy and communities; notes the success of the Fresh Talent: Working in Scotland scheme, which benefited more than 8,000 graduates between 2005 and 2008; further notes the consensus across parties and with sector bodies such as Universities Scotland and Colleges Scotland on the benefits of a flexible post-study work route for Scotland, and calls on the UK Government to urgently amend its proposed policies to ensure that they respect Scotland’s unique education system and its population needs, including by extending leave to remain to a minimum of four years and reintroducing a two-year post-study work visa for students at universities and colleges in Scotland.




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