NUS Scotland calls on UK Government to reinstate Post Study Work Visas

Comments follow announcement of pilot scheme involving two Scottish universities

THE UK GOVERNMENT should reinstate the Post Study Work Visa system for international students at “every institution”, the National Union of Students (NUS) Scotland has argued.

The NUS Scotland statement follows the announcement of a pilot scheme, which includes two Scottish universities, that would make it easier for international students to obtain visas and find work.

Glasgow and Edinburgh are among the 23 universities that will take part in the new scheme, which hopes to streamline the application process for international students partaking in courses of 13 months or less, who wish to apply for so-called ‘Tier 4’ visas.

At present, students from countries within the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) do not require visas to study in the UK. However, whether this will remain the case after Brexit remains unknown. Currently, the scheme will extend to students from outside the EU and EEA, and will allow those students to stay in the UK for six months post-graduation, to allow for an easier transition into employment.

READ MORE: NUS Scotland calls for “root and branch” reform of financial support for poorest students

Previously, Scottish universities offered Post Study Work Visas, however these were scrapped by the UK Government in 2012. In 2016, a cross-party group in the Scottish Parliament published a report, calling for the reintroduction of this visa system.

“Each year we see thousands of talented, qualified, international students wanting to remain in Scotland and contribute to our economy, but instead they’re forced out of the country.” NUS Scotland President Luke Humberstone

Commenting on the announcement of the new pilot scheme, NUS Scotland President Luke Humberstone said: “While on the face of it this is a positive step for international students coming to Scotland, it’s disappointing that the UK Government isn’t using this opportunity to introduce a meaningful post study work visa system for all international students.

“By restricting the extension of these visas to masters students at only two Scottish universities, the UK Government have severely limited the benefit that this move can bring to Scotland as a whole.”

“Each year we see thousands of talented, qualified, international students wanting to remain in Scotland and contribute to our economy, but instead they’re forced out of the country.

“We’re urging the UK Government to recognise the huge benefit that these graduates can bring, and quickly move to return the post study work visa system to international students at every institution.”

The status of international students has been a source of prior controversy for Prime Minister Theresa May, who was accused of wrongly deporting 48,000 international students while she was Home Secretary, after incidents of cheating at a single school was used to condemn all who sat the test in question. A judgement from the Upper Tribunal latered ruled that May’s evidence for doing so suffered from “multiple frailties and shortcomings.”

Picture courtesy of Neil Turner

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