Monday, 31 October 2016 18:34

RUDD ‘On the rocks’ over post study work visas

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The Scottish National Party has said Home Secretary Amber Rudd is "on the rocks" over the issue of post study work visas – unable to provide any coherent defence of the UK government’s blinkered policy of opposing widespread calls to bring back the successful scheme for Scotland.

 

 Last week the UK government rejected calls from the House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee to bring back a more flexible post study work visa system for international students in Scotland. The Committee inquiry into the issue concluded that the 2012 removal of the scheme, that allowed overseas graduates to work for two years after completing their studies, had made Scotland a less attractive destination to study – with an 80 per cent drop in non-EU students remaining in the UK after graduating.

 At today’s Home Office Questions, Joanna Cherry QC MP called the UK government’s current offering for students in Scotland “pathetic” and called on the Home Secretary to bring back the policy and remove students from the government's unrealistic net migration target.

 Commenting Joanna Cherry QC MP, the SNP justice and Home Affairs spokesperson, said:

 “There is near universal support in Scotland for improving post-study work schemes to allow talented students to remain and contribute to the Scottish economy – but still the UK government blunders on with its blinkered opposition.

 “The Home Secretary knows she is on the rocks on this issue. She is entirely unable to provide a coherent defence of the UK government’s position because she knows it flies in the face of the evidence.

 “The Scottish Government, Scottish business, the trade unions, the education sector, and every political party in the Scottish Parliament, including the Conservative and Unionist Party, agree that Scotland needs a return of a post-study route – indeed it’s not clear if any organisations at all have advised the government against such a move.

 “The UK government’s point blank refusal to reintroduce such a scheme is putting Scotland at a huge disadvantage in competing to secure the top international talent. Compared to countries such as Canada and New Zealand the UK government’s offering for students in Scotland is pathetic and is actively damaging our universities and our economy.

 "With clear evidence and overwhelming calls from across Scotland it is time for the UK government to listen.”

Notes for Editors:

 SNP Wesminster Press Office – 0207 219 0074

 Video of the exchange at today’s Home Office Questions:
 http://parliamentlive.tv/event/index/20a8bef5-ab08-455c-9183-7aecd54e1ea2?in=14:38:21&out=14:40:37

 Joanna Cherry QC MP:

 Mr Speaker - Scottish business, the trade unions, the education sector and every political party in the Scottish Parliament, including the Conservative and Unionist Party, agree that Scotland needs a return of a post-study route to allow talented students to remain and contribute to the Scottish economy.  Similar views are shared by the APPG on Migration, the Home Affairs Committee, the Scottish Affairs Select Committee, the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, and the Cole Commission on UK Exports. Can the Home Secretary explain which organisations advised against the return of such as scheme? And indeed were there any at all that gave such advice?

 Joanna Cherry QC MP:

 I’d be very interested to know what advice was received but the truth of the matter is, compared to countries such as Canada and New Zealand, what the UK government is offering students in Scotland is pathetic.  Isn’t the real reason the Home Office is picking on our Universities in Scotland is the Prime Ministers blinkered pursuit of her unrealistic net migration target.  Isn’t it time to remove students from that target – and to recognise that one-size-fits all immigration policies are neither necessary nor desirable for Scotland and indeed the rest of the UK?

 Scottish Affairs Committee Post Graduate Work Schemes Inquiry: https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/scottish-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2015/post-study-work-schemes-15-16/

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