15 Jan 2016
million+ submitted evidence to the Scottish Affairs Committee into Post-Study work schemes, highlighting long-standing concerns about the impact on international students and the international market following changes in the visa regime. These concerns include the abolition of the Tier 1 (Post Study Work) route and its replacement by Tier 2 visa regulations linked to salary thresholds.
When viewed in its totality, UK visa policy could be considered to be a non-tariff barrier to trade. Notwithstanding the quality of the teaching and research in all of Scotland’s universities, their competitiveness and that of businesses in Scotland has been undermined.
Post-study work routes are a factor in international student choice and Scotland’s competitors have systems that are perceived by students as more welcoming. For example, international student numbers from India have fallen by 49% in 4 years for the UK as a whole. At the same time as the UK has restricted post study work, Australia and Canada have extended PSW opportunities.
We strongly support the re-introduction of a Post Study Work route. However if the UK Government does maintain its current stance and immigration remains a reserved power, many of the restrictions on the effectiveness of the system could be addressed technically, with no need for legislation or significant changes to Home Office policy.