Cross party consensus produces proposal for reintroduction of post study work

Universities Scotland has today, Thursday 3 March, welcomed the publication of a report by the Cross Party Steering Group on Post Study Work, which says Scotland would benefit from reintroducing a post study work route and a pragmatic solution can be found.

The Cross Party Steering Group, which includes representatives from all major political parties, business and education in Scotland, set out ten practical recommendations for the reintroduction of a post-study route.

Commenting on the 10 recommendations for a new post study work visa, Universities Scotland’s Convener, Professor Sir Pete Downes said:


“This would put Scotland back on a competitive footing with universities in Australia, Canada and New Zealand, it would make life a lot easier for employers, it would help to address Scotland’s skill gaps and it would make studying here an investment for international students, not a cost. This makes sense on every level and must be given the chance to become policy in Scotland.

“This well considered proposal comes hot on the heels of a Westminster and a Holyrood report recommending that Scotland should be able to run its own post study work visa policy to meet its needs. This will be hard to ignore.

“The recommendations are respectful of the UK Government; international graduates would only be able to work in Scotland and a role has been suggested for the UK Government in its evaluation. The UK Government now needs to be respectful of the wishes of Scotland’s colleges, universities, and businesses and politicians from all parties and let Scotland take post study work forward.”


The ten recommendations made in the report are:

  1. A flexible post study work route would benefit Scotland. A pragmatic solution can be found through partnership working between the UK Government, the Scottish Government and Scottish stakeholders.
  2. People who have completed an HNC, HND, degree or post-graduate qualification at a Scottish institution should be eligible for a post study work visa.
  3. During the course of the post study work visa people should transition onto a job at the same level as their qualification. However, the visa should also provide flexibility to take up other job opportunities in the transitional phase.
  4. Post study work visas should last at least two years.
  5. People on post study work visas should have some savings to tide them over in a crisis. But they should be able to spend these savings when they need to without losing their visa.
  6. A recognised qualification following education at a Further or Higher Education Institution should suffice without additional sponsorship.
  7. Time spent in Scotland on a post study work visa should count towards being able to stay permanently in Scotland after five years.
  8. Partners and older children of people on post study work visas should be able to work in Scotland, if they want to, as per current immigration guidelines.
  9. People on post study work visas will already have excellent English language skills to have completed their qualification; no additional English language requirement would be needed.
  10. A new post study work visa should be formally evaluated. It should then be changed if the evaluation finds ways to improve it.


• You can read the Steering Group’s full report, Post Study Work Steering Group Report of Final Recommendations
• You can read the Steering Group’s Evidence of Reputational Damage Following Closure of Post Study Work Route
• You can the Steering Group’s Report of Stakeholder Workshop Held 18 November 2015
• You can read international graduate, Maulin Buch’s blog on our website in which he shares his experience coming from India to study in Scotland and how he benefited from the Fresh Talent post-study work scheme
• You can read the Scottish Government’s 3 March news release including comment from the Minister for Europe and International Development, Humza Yousaf