The Student Immigration System in Scotland

Written evidence submitted by the University of the West of Scotland

1. Any reduction in the number of non-EU overseas students studying in Scotland could have a significant, negative economic impact. University students typically pay gross fees in the region of £10,000 - £12, 000 per annum but also spend in the local economy, through accommodation rental, living expenditure, entertainment and tourism.

2. Although the reductions are not targeted at University students per-se, there is a real danger that the UK develops a reputation as a study location that is, comparatively, difficult to access in visa terms. Whilst many other English speaking nations are making it more straightforward for students to gain entry, the UK could be perceived as taking the opposite direction. There is already evidence that this perception challenge is resulting in less students applying to UK based universities. The impacts are numerous, but include: significant financial risk; a reduction in the internationally oriented culture and experience offered to domestic students and enriched through interaction with overseas students; even more threat to the already low numbers of Scottish students who are prepared to study overseas; likely damage to Scottish universities ability to secure international research partnerships; and a negative impact on the ability of Scottish universities to position themselves as truly international institutions.

3. Students studying below degree level are likely to be perceived as being more disadvantaged than students studying at degree level or above.

4. The proposal to remove the right to post study work and replace that route with a standard transfer to tier 2, is likely to undermine Scotland’s competitive position as an international destination for HE. It was evident when the "Fresh Talent" initiative was introduced that Scotland’s competitive position was significantly enhanced. The proposed move will simply serve to make Scotland, as part of the UK, a less attractive location.

· The level of compliance with the current system and

o 1) the number of those applying to study

UWS expects around 1,000 meaningful applications from overseas students

o 2) the number of dependants accompanying students

Very few dependants accompany overseas students studying at UWS, due to the fact that we do not offer family accommodation.

o 3) the rules governing work entitlement for students and dependants

We are pleased that it has been decided to retain the 20-hour per week employment entitlement for University students, but concerned about removal of the post study work route.

o 4) the rules governing work entitlement after a course has finished, in Scotland; and

Please see above.

March 2011