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Disappointment at lack of engagement from UK Government.
The Scottish Government will continue to push the UK Government to reintroduce the Post Study Work Visa, despite their disappointing lack of engagement on the issue, Minister for Europe and International Development Humza Yousaf said today.
Mr Yousaf was speaking ahead of the first full meeting of the cross party steering group on post study work, which is examining ways to bring a post study route to Scotland.
Colleges, Higher Education institutes and more than sixty businesses have backed the Scottish Government's call for the return of the Post Study Work Visa, which would allow international students to remain in Scotland after graduation and work for a limited period of time.
A statement of support for reintroducing a post study work visa to Scotland gathered 257 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.
The National Indian Students Union (UK) have also backed the call for a reintroduction of the visa.
Mr Yousaf said:
"We have been working for a return of the post study work route to allow talented students to remain and contribute to the Scottish economy for several months, but have seen a disappointing lack of engagement from UK Government, despite widespread support from across the education and business sectors.
"Signatories from all of Scotland's colleges have backed our statement of support for the reintroduction of a post study work visa to Scotland, as well as more than 60 Scottish businesses.
"We have overwhelming support for this issue in Scotland, across all major political parties, industry and now throughout academia.
"Scotland's needs are different to those in the rest of the UK. Scotland has a large, established migrant community and the Scottish Government welcomes the contribution new Scots are making to our economy and society.
"A post study work visa is an important lever for attracting the best international student talent, securing essential income streams, and allowing talented graduates to continue contributing to Scotland after their studies end.
"Once again, I am calling on the UK Government to take Scotland's needs into account and deliver on the Smith Commission recommendation in this area."
The cross party steering group includes Liz Smith MSP (Conservative), John Finnie MSP (Independent), Claire Baker MSP (Labour), and Liam McArthur MSP (Liberal Democrats) as well as representatives from the Institute of Directors and Education bodies.
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.
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.