Business for Scotland has welcomed today’s intervention from SNP Westminster Leader Angus Robertson on the Tories’ “short-sighted” decision to rule out the post study work visa.
Speaking at PMQs today, Mr Robertson challenged the Tories on their “total disregard” for Scotland after making a decision that clearly flouts the Smith Commission agreement.
Yesterday BfS CEO Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp criticised the decision, and said the minister’s anti-entrepreneurial stance had blatantly disregarded the views of the majority of Scottish businesses and universities.
Today Mr MacIntyre-Kemp said: “Angus Robertson’s comments at PMQs today reinforce our position, that the Post Study Work Visa is incredibly important to Scotland.
“Scotland’s businesses, and her economy, need young talented individuals to remain and work here, paying taxes and contributing to developing the country’s economy.
“To encourage students to come and study here, then send them home again immediately after they complete their studies, is both short-sighted and anti-entrepreneurial.”
Mr Robertson told the House of Commons: “The Tories have shown a total disregard for Scotland by ruling out a return of the post-study work visa and it is utterly unacceptable that this has been done without even a second thought for Scotland’s interests or the support that this scheme has in Scotland.”
“A post study work visa is an important lever for attracting the best international student talent, securing essential income streams, and allowing talented graduates to continue contributing to life in Scotland after their studies end.
“All of Scotland’s 25 publicly funded colleges, Colleges Scotland, Universities Scotland, higher education institutions, dozens of organisations and businesses and even the Scottish Conservatives support the post-study work visa – which makes it all the more absurd that any revival of the visa has been scrapped without any stakeholder discussions and before key parliamentary reports.
“During the Scotland Bill discussions, the post-study work visa was designated as a non-legislative item to be discussed by the Scottish and UK Governments and so was not actually included in this already flawed and watered-down legislation.
“Scotland has different immigration needs to the rest of the UK and the SNP will continue to call for the post-study work visa to be devolved so that talented students from around the world can continue to live in Scotland and contribute to our economy.”
Humza Yusaf MSP, Scotland’s Europe and International Development minister, will chair a cross-party steering group on the post-study work visa as a reintroduction of the policy would encourage more talented people from around the world to further their education in Scotland, providing income for Scotland’s education institutions and contributing to the local economy and community diversity.