I am pleased to announce that I will be taking part in a cross party steering group established by the Scottish Government to work towards the reintroduction of the Post Study Work Visa in Scotland. The group will include members of all the major Scottish parties such as the Minister for Europe and International Development Humza Yousaf, and John Finnie MSP as well as representatives from the business and college and university sector.
The post study work visa was first introduced by the then First Minister Jack McConnell and his Labour led executive. Then it was part of the Fresh Talent scheme and its success in Scotland led to it being rolled out across the UK by the then Labour Government. Unfortunately it was then cancelled by the coalition during the last Westminster term.
The previous post study work visa allowed international students to remain and work in Scotland for 2 years following graduation from university, with the aim is to attract and retain world-class talent in Scotland.
The visa is supported by colleges, universities, student bodies and business and its reintroduction was recommended by a working group in March this year.
The previous Fresh Talent initiative was a clear success and showed how the needs of Scotland can be met through a common sense approach and cooperation between both Holyrood and Westminster. This must be shown again.
International students have a significant contribution to make to everyday life in Scotland. They help maintain and build on our modern, inclusive and multicultural country whilst benefiting our economy and education system.
There is a consensus amongst educational institutes and business large and small that a post-study work visa scheme is needed again in Scotland. I’m pleased there is also a cross party consensus in Holyrood and look forward to playing my part in working towards the reintroduction a post-study work visa.