Universities Scotland comments on immigration white paper

Responding to the Home Office’s white paper on immigration, Alastair Sim, Director of Universities Scotland said:

“The white paper on immigration highlights many of the benefits that immigration provides across the country. However we remain concerned that UK immigration policy post-Brexit will make it more difficult to attract talent to our nation.

“Mobility of talent is the lifeblood of Scotland’s universities. It has a positive impact on individuals, universities, research and communities. The removal of a cap on the number of highly skilled workers is welcome, but there needs to be a recognition that there is often not a correlation between high skills and high wages – for instance early-career researchers, technicians and creative professionals bring huge talent to Scotland but may fall below a £30k salary threshold.

“A six month entitlement for international graduates to stay in the UK to find work is a step in the right direction but doesn’t compare with the post-study work entitlements offered by our competitors.

“We’re also concerned about the proposal for EU students to have to acquire a study visa, putting up another barrier for students who wish to study here in Scotland. Added to that, universities will now have added bureaucracy and cost as EU students will be subject to Home Office sponsorship rules along with other international students.

“We want to be part of a society that is open, richer culturally and financially. We need to be serious about attracting talent to our nation. It’s hard to see how this can be achieved with today’s white paper.”