15 November 2010

Scottish Government attacks plans to tighten UK Visa numbers

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The Scottish Government has attacked plans for tighter UK Visa and immigration controls, arguing they will damage the economy and injure universities’ recruitment of overseas students.

UK Visa

The Scottish Government wants a separate immigration quota to apply north of the border.

In a speech at Edinburgh University, Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop said the Westminster Government’s UK Visa cap could have a damaging impact on Scotland’s ability to attract and retain world-class talent.

The Scottish Government wants a separate annual immigration allowance to apply to Scotland.

Education Secretary Michael Russell has also protested against tighter immigration controls, and universities have expressed concerns about proposals to tighten up the issuing of UK Student Visas saying they will hurt their abilities to attract foreign students.

Ms Hyslop told the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission reception: “Scotland welcomes talented individuals to work, live, learn and remain. The UK Government is projecting a totally different message. Its plan for a cap on immigration is based on an ideology that ignores the quite different reality here in Scotland.

“I am deeply concerned about the effect that the annual limit will have.

“The immigration cap is not right for business, economic growth, our colleges and universities, and it is not right for Scotland,” Ms Hyslop said.

A temporary UK Immigration cap on skilled migrants from outside the UK was introduced in July, ahead of the permanent cap that will be put in force in April 2011. A consultation on the level of the permanent cap has been completed and a decision is expected to be announced next month.

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people with their  UK Visa applications to the British High Commission.

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