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Scottish Government backs CaSE calls on migration

10 Sep 2019

The Scottish Government today calls for the reintroduction of a two-year post-study work visa, a recommendation which CaSE has been championing for some time.

CaSE has long called for the reintroduction of an internationally competitive post-study work route for international students, featuring most recently in our recently published five point plan for science and engineering. We are also supporting the motion to extend the European Temporary Leave to Remain in the event of a no-deal Brexit to four years, to encompass the needs of the Scottish Higher Education sector. 

Our supportive statement of the calls from the Scottish Government is copied in full below:

International students are a valuable asset to Scotland and its universities in many ways. The 2015/16 cohort of international students will make a net economic contribution of nearly £2bn over the course of their studies, providing a £365 benefit to every Scottish resident. These benefits relate to the investment they make in Scottish Higher Education, but also the indirect and induced effects across the Scottish economy and the impacts of their family and friends visiting Scotland.

International students do not only provide great economic contributions to Scotland, they also play a key role in supporting the provision of high-cost subjects, for example postgraduate engineering courses, making them viable for domestic students.

The market for international students has become increasingly competitive in recent years. The UK’s market share of international students has dropped from 14% in 2013 to 12% in 2016, despite the actual number of international students coming to the UK increasing. The UK’s competitors, particularly other English-speaking countries, have enhanced their offer to international students to stay in the country after the completion of their studies. The US grants STEM students three years after the completion of their degree to work or continue study, while international students in Canada are automatically granted a three-year work permit if they spend at least two years in full-time education. Currently, the UK’s offer is simply not competitive, and denies the equivalent opportunities for students to stay in Scotland to contribute to the country that trained them.

That is why the Campaign for Science and Engineering is recommending that the UK Government reintroduces a two year post-study work visa, allowing graduates the time to decide whether they would like to continue to study or pursue their career in the UK, without having to apply for new courses or jobs during their exam periods. We also support the extension of Temporary Leave to Remain rules for European students to 4 years, to meet the needs of Scottish undergraduate courses.