Scotland could introduce new visa under devolved powers

09 Dec 2014 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Reports have suggested that one of the outcomes of further powers being devolved from Westminster to Edinburgh could be the option for Scotland to chose its own visa rules and regulations.

The final report from the Smith Commission on the matter has recommended which additional powers Westminster should allow to be devolved. It is this document that brought up the UK visa issue, however, it also clarified that no additional powers actually need to be devolved to allow Scotland to make certain visa changes.

According to recommendations from the Smith Commission, the political parties in the Scottish Parliament should work together with the UK government to introduce visa schemes that are the most beneficial for local economies. For Scotland, this would most likely mean the much-discussed option of post-study work visas.

The report says that the two groups should, among other issues, "explore the possibility of introducing formal schemes to allow international higher education students graduating from Scottish further and higher education institutions to remain in Scotland and contribute to economic activity for a defined period of time".

It has already received the support of NUS Scotland, Universities Scotland and business groups including the Institute of Directors Scotland and the Scottish Chambers of Scotland.

The potential social and economic benefits have been cited as reason to allow Scotland to determine its own visa regulations in some areas, particularly when the country is facing such a different set of demographic conditions than the UK as a whole.