The Student Immigration System in Scotland

Written evidence submitted by Richard Speight, Vice Principal, City of Glasgow College

In response to your request and as a Vice Principal of the largest College in Scotland with a specific remit for International activity, I think I am in an ideal position to comment informatively on the current UK BA rules for International Students. My college recruits approximately 1000 to 1200 International students per annum and whilst the majority of these are taking advantage of the highly specialised maritime curriculum we offer, the numbers in other areas of curricula activity are steadily increasing. The income to this college is a not insignificant £2m+


I have waited until now to respond to your on-going enquiry so that I could comment on the latest changes that UKBA have announced in the update of 22nd March 2011.  In my view the vast majority of the proposals are fair and with respect to strengthening the requirements for Institutions to maintain Highly Trusted Sponsor status are essential to ensure both the quality of the provision as well as the student. I also welcome the English Language Entry requirements that will ensure that Institutions such as my own can offer sub degree courses which upgrade students language skills to allow them to articulate to degree courses at our Universities.


I also welcome the opportunity that students at Universities and Government funded Colleges retain the right to work. For many this is essential to allow them to maintain a basic standard of living whilst completing their course. With respect to post study work it is of concern that the rules on this have changed but it is difficult to understand what effect the new proposals will have at this stage. It is however important to appreciate that many students who undertake sub degree programmes also look to seek employment in the UK for a limited period so that their chances of employment are improved once they return home.


In my opinion the new proposed rules will tighten up and hopefully remove the so called 'bogus' institutions and whilst they will require HTS Institutions to ensure they have robust systems in place this should not significantly reduce their ability to recruit and operate Internationally. I have attended a number of consultation events leading up to these new announcements and I am delighted that the Government has taken on board all the issues that have been raised and significantly changed their stance on several issues. I certainly do not feel that Scotland needs a separate system to the rest of the UK at this time.

Up until now the UK BA have agreed to treat International Students undertaking an SQA HND (SCQF Level 7 & 8) at a Scottish College as equivalent to those studying a Foundation degree in England. It is important that this continues for Scottish Colleges.

March 2011