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EUK runs mission to Scotland as minister backs post-study work

Language teaching association English UK (EUK) welcomed agents from Europe to Scotland on an inward mission, shortly after Scotland’s External Affairs Minister said that plans to re-introduce the two-year Post-Study Work (PSW) visa should Scotland gain independence in this year’s referendum would protect Scottish institutions from declining international student numbers.

Agents visit Newbattle Abbey's OSCARS programme

“Scotland must be able to attract and retain world-class talent to fill vacancies which cannot be filled by resident workers"

“We must do everything within our power to protect the valuable contribution made by international students to higher education in Scotland”

There is particular concern about a “worrying drop” in the number of students coming to the UK from India and Pakistan in the two years since the abolition of the PSW route was announced by the UK’s coalition government in March 2011, Minister Humza Yousaf said.

“[Scotland must] be able to attract and retain world-class talent to fill vacancies which cannot be filled by resident workers,” he commented.

“We would ensure that the immigration policies we introduce, including the post-study work visa, allow Scotland to attract and retain world-class talent, contributing to our education system and the Scottish economy.”

The reinstatement of the PSW route, which was scrapped in April 2012, is part of Scotland’s strategy, outlined in a white paper last year, to combat a skills shortage and projected upcoming fall in the working age population.

The visa would give international graduates 24 months to work or set up a business in Scotland after completing their studies – 20 months longer than the current Tier 4 visa available to students on courses of 12 or more months.

“It is clear that we must do everything within our power to protect the valuable contribution made by international students to higher education in Scotland and protect our universities,” Yousaf said.

“Clearly, Scotland must have the powers of an independent nation to develop an immigration system that works for Scotland and ensures that we fully protect the international reputation and success of our universities.”

Meanwhile, for the annual EUK spring inward mission 13 agents from the Czech Republic, Georgia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Turkey, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine and Poland enjoyed showcases from six Scottish centres, including a walking tour and an afternoon at the Mackenzie School of English learning some useful Scottish phrases and sayings.

“I met fantastic people during the mission and I will put all my efforts to promote Scotland and schools,” Tatiana Blinova of the Anima Project in Russia said.

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