UK visa changes will 'disproportionately affect Scotland'

29 Jul 2011 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Scotland will be disproportionately affected by the changes to the student section of the UK visa system.

This is according to a recent report from the cross-party Scottish Affairs Committee, which has conducted an inquiry into the effect of the UK visa adaptations.

The government has made significant changes to the majority of areas covered by UK immigration regulation in a bid to clampdown on net-migration to this country. However, a report on the committee's findings revealed that Scotland was not adequately taken into account when the UK visa proposals were originally discussed.

In fact, the paper went so far as to suggest that the changes to the system could discourage international students from applying to Scottish universities.

"These proposals will have a disproportionate effect in Scotland, both because of the size of the sector in Scotland and as they are primarily designed to address a problem which is largely insignificant in Scotland," it said. "In doing so, these proposals risk compromising and diminishing not only the high standard of education provided by higher education institutions in Scotland but also threaten the valuable contribution of the international students who study at these institutions, to Scottish society."

Ian Davidson MP, chair of the committee, explained the significance of the issue, noting that the university and higher education sector contributes nearly £0.5 billion in export income to Scotland. He added: "The contribution of international students to the Scottish economy must not be underestimated."