Today in Parliament, I had the privilege of leading a Westminster Hall debate which discussed the UK Government’s restrictive immigration rules for international students.

The Scottish Affairs Committee recently produced a report which showed that the UK Government’s decision to remove the Post-Study Work visa has resulted in skill shortages in key sectors of Scotland’s economy and that Scottish Universities are losing out when it comes to attracting international students. This is a view echoed by far too many organisation to name them all but it’s safe to say the only people in favour of these immigration rules are the Tories.

The UK Government has deliberately targeted students in order to help meet its own migration targets, despite the overwhelming evidence which suggests that students should not be included in any such targets. As a result of this the UK’s international education sector, an important industry for the economy, is falling behind that of other countries such as Canada and Australia, which are now seen as much more attractive destinations for students.

It was great to see so many of my colleagues at the debate and the near universal agreement amongst all the parties present, that the UK Government has got it badly wrong on this issue. I hope that after this debate, the UK Government will listen to the many concerns that were raised and change its immigration rules accordingly.

You can watch a full video of the debate here:

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