PRESS RELEASE
For immediate publication
Wednesday 9th September 2015

ATTENTION: News desks / Political Correspondents 

“POST STUDY WORK VISA ANSWER TO SKILLS SHORTAGE” – SALMOND

Alex Salmond MSP (Aberdeenshire East) MP (Gordon) has called on the UK Government to reinstate the post study work visa to address the country’s continuing skills shortages.

This comes after Scotland’s colleges made a unified declaration of support backing the return of the post study work visa, which was abolished by the UK Government in April 2012.

A statement of support for reintroducing a post study work visa to Scotland has now gathered 160 signatures, including all 25 of Scotland’s publically funded colleges, the sector body Colleges Scotland, Universities Scotland , the representative body for Scotland’s 19 Higher Education Institutions and representatives from across industry.

Included in the statement were signatures from the University of Aberdeen, Robert Gordon University and Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) – who have a campus in Craibstone, near Aberdeen Airport.

Commenting, Mr Salmond said:

“Our fantastic colleges and universities are world renowned for their quality and attract talent from every continent to come here and develop their knowledge and understanding. 
“We then miss out on utilising these skilled professionals because the UK Government will not grant them a visa to work upon graduating.
“At the same time, many of our industries and services, especially our NHS, are experiences skills shortages and are finding it increasingly difficult to recruit and retain staff. 
“Reinstating the post study work visa is the obvious answer to address these skills shortages in the North East and across the country.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

Signatories supported the statement:

I/We the undersigned agree with the principle of a post-study work visa for Scotland, in order to allow talented international graduates from Scottish institutions to make welcome contributions to our education institutions, businesses, economy, demography and communities. I/We call on the UK Government to fully engage with the Scottish Government on the reintroduction of the post-study work route in Scotland.

Argyll College is not publically funded and so is not included as one of the 25 colleges. 
Read more about the launch of the Cross Party Steering Group here: http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Cross-party-steering-group-on-post-study-work-visa-199f.aspx  

Read more about the work of the Post Study Work Working Group and its report here http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Call-to-reinstate-post-study-work-visas-178c.aspx  

The UK Tier 1 (Post-study Work) visa was abolished by the UK Government in April 2012. Prior to this Scotland pioneered the Fresh Talent Working in Scotland Scheme visa which enabled students from Scottish institutions to remain in Scotland for two years to work and gain further experience. This scheme ran from 2005 to 2008, when it was subsumed into the UK-wide Tier 1 (Post-study Work) visa.