Universities Scotland comments on extension of Tier 4 pilot scheme

Responding to the news that the Home Office intends to expand the Tier 4 visa pilot to a further 23 institutions for students on a Masters’ course, including University of Edinburgh and University of Glasgow, Professor Andrea Nolan, Convener of Universities Scotland said:

It’s good to see the Home Office expanding the Tier 4 visa pilot as part of the evidence-based approach that the UK Government is now taking on immigration policy.

Universities Scotland have consistently made the case that it is in the national interest to allow students to live and work in Scotland after graduating. We know the economic benefit that international students bring to Scotland and the economy should be allowed to benefit further, especially when Scotland’s universities score higher than the global average for satisfaction amongst international students.

While it is good news for the universities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, we want all our universities to benefit from a transparent and fit-for purpose immigration system that enables all our universities to recruit talented students.

Our Universities are highly trusted sponsors, they take compliance very seriously and they all undergo robust assessment of their quality and standards at institutional level every four years; there is no evidence that the system is open to abuse.

We have argued for years that to remain internationally competitive in attracting students we must give international students the same opportunities as our competitors in America, Australia, Ireland and elsewhere. There is broad consensus in Scotland from business to colleges, universities to politicians and the public, who all recognise the nation’s unique circumstances.

We look forward with confidence, to a robust evaluation of the pilot in a timely manner. We fully expect that the Tier 4 pilot will be rolled out for the rest of the higher education institutions in Scotland at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.


  • In July 2016, the Home Office launched a two-year pilot easing visa rules for those applying to master’s courses at the University of Bath, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford and Imperial College London.