Universities Scotland comments on the Migration Advisory Committee report

Responding to today’s Migration Advisory Committee report on international students, Alastair Sim, Director of Universities Scotland said:

Today’s report explicitly says that ‘international students offer positive economic benefit.’ If the government’s industrial strategy is to be a success it needs a vibrant higher education sector and it is impossible to imagine that without significant and strong recruitment of international students.

In that context, it’s disappointing not to see a recommendation for a visa regime that will enable Scottish universities to compete to attract international student talent to our nation. Business groups support us, political and civic groups across Scotland support us, and the Scottish public support us.

Since 2015 we have seen our competitors in other countries recruit significantly more international students. This is helped by government policy in these countries. The status quo for the UK means we’re stagnating when the rest of the world actively seeks these immensely talented, smart and motivated people.

Affirmation of the value of international students in the report needs to be backed up with substantive policy change.

We will continue to argue and demonstrate that international students bring value to our nation, and that we need a competitive post-study work visa to attract them to Scotland.