Briefings & Evidence

Written evidence for Devolution (Further Powers) Committee evidence session on post-study work

Universities Scotland submitted written evidence to the Devolution (Further Powers) Committee as it considers post-study work visas as an issue related to the Smith Commission on Thursday 28 January.

Our written evidence makes it clear that Scotland’s higher education institutions want to see a change to the UK’s immigration policy for international students. This could happen at a UK level, for the benefit of all UK HEIs, or at a Scotland level in a follow-through onthe recommendation in the Smith Commission’s final report.

We argue that:


  1. There is a solid evidence base to support the social and cultural benefits Scotland would gain if a post study work visa were to be reintroduced.
  2. There is a very broad consensus of support to see this happen in Scotland. This includes the university and college sectors, the business community and all parties represented in the Scottish Parliament.
  3. Tier 2 (as the policy stands of January 2016) is a restrictive and anti-competitive route for international graduates and bureaucratic and off-putting for employers. Student numbers, from what were once key markets for Scotland, have fallen significantly, with double-digit decreases, since Tier 2 was introduced. New Zealand, Canada, Australia and America grow their international student numbers at the expense of Scotland, where our numbers stagnate at best.
  4. The Migration Advisory Committee’s recommendations, announced this January, are taking the UK further in the wrong direction. Increasing minimum salary thresholds will make Tier 2 even more restrictive, effectively rendering a significant proportion of international graduates ineligible to apply.
  5. The global demand for overseas study continues. Scotland’s universities have all of the assets needed to do well in this market with the exception of a competitive visa policy.


Read Universities Scotland’s written evidence submission on post-study work visas.