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Disappointment as UK Government rules out return.
The UK Government's decision to rule out a return of the post study work visa is "deeply disappointing and damaging to Scotland", Minister for Europe and International Development Humza Yousaf has said.
The decision has come without Scottish stakeholder discussions and before key reports on post study work are published by the UK Parliament's Scottish Affairs Committee and the Post Study Work Steering Group.
The Scottish Government has been campaigning for a return of the visa, which allowed international students to remain in Scotland and work after graduation.
The call has been backed by businesses, colleges and universities, and has cross party support in the Scottish Parliament amongst every political party represented in Holyrood.
Mr Yousaf will tomorrow (13th January) chair a meeting of the cross party steering group on the post study work visa, and the group will consider the implications of the UK Government's decision. The UK Parliament's Scottish Affairs Committee is also currently holding an inquiry on the issue, and last week the Secretary of State for Scotland told parliament he was looking forward to its report.
Humza Yousaf said:
"I am deeply disappointed and angered that the UK Government has ruled out a return of the Post Study Work Visa.
"Scotland has different immigration needs to the rest the UK. There is consensus in Scotland, amongst business, education institutes and across the political spectrum, that we need a return of the post-study route to allow talented students to remain and contribute to the Scottish economy.
"By ruling out a return of this route, the UK Government has ignored this consensus and the recommendations of the Smith Commission, and dismissed Scotland's call to positively and meaningfully engage on this issue.
"Tomorrow I will chair the cross party steering group on the post study work visa. We will consider this disappointing decision from the UK Government and what action we can take to pursue Scotland's interests."
A statement of support for reintroducing a post study work visa to Scotland has gathered 265 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 64 businesses.
Reintroduction of the visa has received cross-party support in the Scottish Parliament. Mr Yousaf chairs a cross-party steering group on post study work whose members are:
• Liz Smith MSP (Conservative)
• Liam McArthur MSP (Liberal Democrat)
• Claire Baker MSP (Labour)
• John Finnie MSP (on behalf of the Green Party)
• Institute of Directors (IoD)
• Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI)
• Colleges Scotland
• National Union of Students (NUS Scotland)
• Scottish Universities International Group (SUIG)
• Universities Scotland
• UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA)
• Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC)
• Scottish Chambers of Commerce