Could Scotland Reintroduce Post Work Study Visas?

Since the UK Government’s abolition of the post-study work visa in 2012 non-EU students have found it hard to meet the criteria required to continue living and working in the UK. However this may be about to change – within Scotland at least – thanks to a recent report by the Westminster Scottish Affairs Committee.\r\n\r\nThe devolved Scottish Government is pressing for a replacement of the post-study work visa scheme; a scheme which allowed non-EU students who had completed a period of study in Scotland to work in the country for two years following the completion of their studies. \r\n\r\nThere has been an 80% drop in non-EU students remaining in the UK post-graduation since the 2012 abolition. \r\n\r\nThe restrictive nature of the current rules in place are seen by many as damaging to Scotland’s economy and its reputation.\r\n\r\n

Non-Eu Student Visa Advice

\r\nNon-EU students who wish to work in the UK after graduation often have limited options when it comes to employers. A recent increase to the minimum earnings threshold for immigrants means even former students must earn at least £35,000 a year before being allowed to work in Britain – a figure which is £10,000 above the average UK salary and an astonishing £15,000 above the current minimum threshold. \r\n\r\nWhen you add to this the fact that many businesses in the UK are small to medium enterprises which often require specialist advice on the legalities of sponsoring and employing a non-EU individual, it is no surprise that so few students are able to remain.\r\n\r\nBut with many of Scotland’s political parties uniting over this issue, it seems that international students wishing to live and work in Scotland may potentially have the option to do so in the near future. Scottish businesses, universities and politicians have all welcomed the idea of Scotland having its own post-study work visa scheme which is separate to the rest of the UK.\r\n\r\nScotland faces a range of unique challenges in boosting its economy, with low birth rates and many other demographic problems leading to a shortage of skills in certain areas – skills which many believe non-EU students should be allowed to fill. \r\nWestminster’s Scottish Affairs Committee has proposed an extension to the time that non-EU graduates are allowed to stay in Scotland, and they have also suggested that sponsorship rules be reformed and simplified to allow more businesses to benefit from the experience and expertise international students offer. The committee’s chair Pete Wishart remarked;\r\n\r\n”We currently have a situation where people come to Scotland from around the world to spend three or four years here being educated and becoming settled in our society. Then we raise unnecessary barriers preventing these talented individuals from staying and contributing to our economy.”\r\n\r\nThe UK Government has responded by promising to investigate the committee’s findings, and there is great hope and support from both within Scotland and the rest of the UK that a replacement for the post-study work visa can be found, allowing Britain to make use of the significant amount of talented international students it educates every year.