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Post study work schemes inquiry launched

19 November 2015

The Scottish Affairs Committee announces an inquiry into post study work schemes for international students who have attended further or higher education institutions in Scotland.

Prior to 2012, international students were able to apply for a dedicated post study work visa, which allowed them to remain and work in the UK after completing their studies. The committee is examining what impact the closure of this scheme has had on industry and the competitiveness of higher education institutions (HEI). They are also looking at what the Scottish and UK governments have done to investigate the feasibility of a scheme allowing international students to remain in Scotland and contribute to the economy.

Chair's comments

Committee chair, Pete Wishart, commented:

"There are many thousands of students who come here to study every year, attracted by the Scottish culture and the quality of our educational institutions. However, universities and colleges are facing growing competition in the global education sector. We want to see if the lack of a dedicated programme that allows overseas students to stay here for a period of time after graduating is reducing the attractiveness of studying here.

Additionally, we are going look at the skills the Scottish economy requires and whether a post study work scheme can help to bridge any skills gap that exists. We have a highly diverse economy, underpinned by specialist sectors such as oil and gas, engineering and health, where a quarter of all vacancies are hard-to-fill because of a shortage in available skills.

This is the first inquiry we have launched following our Work of the Scottish Affairs Committee inquiry and is based on feedback from Scottish Universities, employers and civic Scotland. We expect to hear evidence from government ministers, and leaders in business and education, but we also want to hear from groups or individuals affected by this policy at all levels. If you have come to Scotland to complete your higher education, or have begun your career here after graduating, then get in touch and tell us what you think."

Sessions in Aberdeen and London

As part of its inquiry the Committee is visiting Aberdeen on Monday 30 November, to hear from business and education representatives, as well as the Scottish Minister for Europe and International Development, Humza Yousaf MSP. The Committee is taking evidence from the UK Minister for Immigration, James Brokenshire MP, on Wednesday 9 December.

Terms of reference

The Committee has invited evidence on the following issues:

  1. What impact has the closure of the Tier 1 (Post-Study Work) Visa had on:
    • Further and Higher Education Institutions in Scotland?
    • Economic growth in Scotland?
    • The ability of Scottish employers to find skilled staff?
    • Raising the skill levels of Scotland's own young people and attracting skilled workers from the rest of the United Kingdom?
  2. How effective are current Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) and 2 (General) visas for enabling international students to remain in Scotland, after completing their studies, to contribute to the Scottish economy?
    • What are the limitations of current arrangements?
  3. To what extent is the competitiveness of Scottish universities driven by factors such as the availability of post study work schemes, as compared to the quality of education?
  4. What progress has been made on discussions between the UK and Scottish governments to explore the possibility of introducing formal post study work schemes for international students in Scotland?
  5. How should any post study work scheme for international students in Scotland be structured?

How to get involved

Send a written submission

Send written submissions via the form available on our post study work schemes inquiry page. The deadline for written submissions is Wednesday 16 December, but earlier submissions would be appreciated.

Social media

You can also contribute to the debate on

Further information 

Image: iStockphoto