Post-study visa return backed by Scottish Affairs Committee
Skills gaps in Scotland in key professions could be filled by allowing foreign students to stay in the country, a report published today by the Scottish Affairs Committee has said.
The MPs join Holyrood’s devolution committee and all political parties in Scotland in backing the reversal of a decision to withdraw post-study visas taken in 2012.
Scottish secretary David Mundell had said the UK Government had “no intention” of re-introducing the scheme, but later told the Scottish Affairs committee he’d be “open to suggestions”.
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Scotland's skills gaps
In its inquiry, the select committee found Scotland faces different demographic challenges to the rest of the UK, with a much lower birth rate and significant skills gaps in the workforce. Sectors, such as health, energy and finance face particular problems in recruiting skilled graduate workers.
The report recommended government extends the length of student visa to allow a longer period after graduation for students to find work, reform sponsorship rules to make it easier for businesses to employ non-EU graduates and introduce of regional salary thresholds.
“We raise unnecessary barriers preventing these talented individuals from staying and contributing to our economy,” said committee chair Pete Wishart MSP.
Scottish parliament devolution committee convener Bruce Crawford said there was a "clear consensus" between Scotland's political parties and colleges, universities and businesses.
"As a direct result of this policy, domestic business is being deprived of world-class talent that's trained and developed in Scotland. Given the demographic profile of Scotland, that's a position we can ill-afford,” he said.