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Immigration's impact on education, oil and gas, and life sciences discussed

16 January 2018

The Scottish Affairs Committee holds the latest evidence session in its inquiry into immigration and Scotland, featuring witnesses from the further and higher education sectors as well as a panel of witnesses from the oil and gas and life sciences sectors.

In this meeting, the Committee asks how the EU referendum result will affect international students and EU staff at Scottish universities and colleges. They also examine the ability of sectors that rely on high skilled workers to attract staff under the current immigration system, particularly when employing workers who require visa sponsorship.

Brexit and education

EU and non-EU nationals make up a significant proportion of the staff and student populations in Scotland's universities. EU staff are particularly important to research in Scottish universities, making up almost a quarter of all research staff. Brexit could have implications for the ability of EU nationals to move to Scotland for work or study. The further and higher educational sectors have highlighted the need for continued access to international talent to meet the skills requirements of Scotland's educational institutions, and have argued that future immigration arrangements should reflex this.

Oil and gas and life sciences sectors

Both the oil and gas and life sciences sectors rely on being able to recruit high-skilled UK, EU and non-EU nationals in order to meet their labour requirements. It is estimated that 40% of all employment supported by the oil and gas industry is located in Scotland, whilst Scotland's life sciences sector currently employs approximately 35,000 people across 650 organisations. Recruitment from outside Scotland's domestic labour market is common for both these sectors, and while EU nationals currently enjoy an unrestricted right to live and work in the UK, the current arrangements for non-EU nationals are much more restrictive.


Tuesday 16 January. Committee Room 8, Palace of Westminster

From 9.45am - further and higher education 

From 10.45am - oil, gas and life sciences

Chair's comments

Committee Chair Pete Wishart said:

"The Committee's work during this inquiry has seen us hear from academic, business and sectoral representatives about what impact Brexit has had and may have in the future on the labour needs of Scottish business, how well current immigration arrangements serve these needs, and what additional challenges might arise as a result of Brexit.  
Scotland's further and higher education, oil and gas, and life sciences sectors are a vital part of the Scottish economy, so it is essential they are able to recruit the skilled workers they need from across the UK, EU and globally. We will hear from representatives of these sectors to ask how well the system works in present, and what needs to change to make sure it is fit for the future, particularly post-Brexit."

Further information

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