January 27 2016
Mr Maulin Buch former participant on the Fresh Talent Scheme appears before the Devolution Further Powers Committee as it takes evidence on Post-Study Work Visas. 28 January 2016. Pic - Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament

UK policy on post study work visas: what works and what doesn’t

Maulin Buch came to Scotland from India to study at the University of Glasgow. After graduation he converted to the Fresh Talent visa that was available to international students in Scotland between 2004-2008. It allowed him up to two years to find a ‘graduate level’ job and settle into a career path in Scotland. Maulin comments on the advantages of that visa policy and the disadvantages, as he sees them, of the current UK policy on post study work.

Maulin:

After graduation I worked part time as a ‘Customer Service Representative’ for a few months. This was while moving from a student visa to a Post Study Work Visa to support and stabilise myself financially and at the same time have enough time to focus on getting a proper job. Once I had few months of UK Work Experience under my belt and the important stability on my visa (which lasted 2 years) I applied for the graduate programme through Talent Scotland and got employed with Retronix as a Marketing Assistant. I know that I was selected after Retronix had interviewed at least 25-30 other candidates. I have been with them ever since. My role is now as Business Development Executive – with responsibility of Marketing to the UK, European and the Indian market. I am working as part of the team at Retronix to enter the Indian market which is expected to lead to the creation of about 10 or more jobs in North Lanarkshire.

When I was in Mumbai, still doing my research on which universities I wanted to apply to there were four important points for me before I reached a final decision: (1) Quality of the course offered, (2) Reputation of the University , (3) Support before and after the course, (4) Opportunity to gain rich experience. For international students, going so far away from home is an expensive decision. Not being able to find work makes it difficult to justify the cost and efforts. I believe it’s only fair that an opportunity is given to build an international experience if the student is capable without any favours or obligations of course.

In my case, because I went to Glasgow University (best decision ever!) and my experience was so positive, it was natural to want to expand on my experience professionally in the same area and I really felt right at home and comfortable with Scotland.

It is a very difficult decision to leave home and family to come so far for higher education, it can get very scary at times; but ever since I first landed in Glasgow, never have I felt home sick, I have met the most friendly and inclusive people, and the most stunning natural beauty all around. I am most impressed with how fair, balanced and supportive different administrations are be it universities, Councils, Scottish Government initiatives like Scottish Enterprise, Talent Scotland etc. and the Scottish Government. I even like full fat IRN BRU and Tunnocks Caramel wafers ! Although I am still to try the fried Mars Bar.

Unfortunately if I were to apply today, knowing fully that UK Universities are the best, students will not consider UK and will look to places like – Canada, Australia , New Zealand because after all it is the ecosystem of ‘Learn, Build and Apply’ that matters but at the moment the UK offers ‘Learn Here – Build and Apply elsewhere’. I have spoken to literally hundreds of students who have asked me about UK, I try my best to give them a fair picture but almost each and every potential student has expressed that UK seems ‘unwelcoming and hostile’ at the moment and this bothers me the most as I know that is not entirely true, but Scotland gets caught up in this false perception as well.

I can say this with utmost confidence unfortunately that the changes announced for the minimum salary thresholds [recommended by the Migration Advisory Committee in January 2016] will not be affordable by any Small & Medium Enterprise which forms the bulk of job creators.

 

  • Image (C) Scottish Parliamentary Coprorate Body – 2016. Licensed under the Open Scottish Parliament Licence v2