Universities call for post-study work visa election pledges

Written by Tom Freeman on 1 May 2017 in News

Scottish Universities’ staff and students call for Brexit student commitments

Edinburgh University - credit dun_deagh

Scottish universities have called for political parties to match their support for the return of a post-study work visa by including it in their general election manifestos.

The principals have been joined by staff and student unions in calling for the commitment in a new Manifesto for the Mobility of Talent document.

All five main parties in Scotland have already voiced support for giving international students the opportunity to stay and work in Scotland for a few years after they graduate, but the UK Government has not committed to the idea amid negotiating the process of leaving the European Union.


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The scheme was abolished by Theresa May in 2012 when she was home secretary. Current home secretary Amber Rudd has sent mixed messages over the policy after proposing tougher rules on foreign workers to stop immigrants coming to the UK “taking jobs British people could do”.

Her speech at Conservative conference last year was reported to West Midlands police as a ‘hate incident’.

However in Scotland all parties support the post-study visa.

The joint Manifesto for the Mobility of Talent also calls on politicians to guarantee the status of existing EU and EEA staff and the continuation of the Erasmus+ student exchange programme post-Brexit.

Alastair Sim, Director of Universities Scotland, said: “The next UK Government is going to have to take a new approach to immigration as it moves on with Brexit.

“This election gives politicians in Scotland a chance to send a strong and united message to the next Government, backed by the electorate, that Scotland wants an immigration policy that works for us.

NUS Scotland President Vonnie Sandlan said: “The economic uncertainty of Brexit threatens to have a negative impact on young people’s futures.

“In this election politicians must be reminded it is their duty to ensure that students and young people have access to the opportunities and experiences that will enable them to reach their full potential in life.”

Mary Senior, Scotland Official, University and College Union said: “To avoid a brain drain of international talent we need to send a strong message that staff and students from around the world are welcome in Scotland.”

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