Scottish academics have raised concerns that a trial of new post-work study visa is only being tested in England.
They are worried that Scotland has been ‘snubbed’ over the scheme, which is being piloted at Oxford, Cambridge and Bath universities and Imperial College London.
There are now calls for the scheme to be extended north of the border, where there have been issues in recruiting some skilled workers such as teachers and doctors.
Professors Ian Diamond and Ferdinand von Prondzynski, who are the principals of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon universities, have written to the Aberdeen Press & Journal, calling on the Government to consider Aberdeen as part of the pilot project.
They wrote: “Considering the political consensus in Scotland in favour of the reintroduction of such a visa, the exclusion of Scottish universities from this pilot scheme is a missed opportunity.
“As a city facing acute economic challenges, Aberdeen seems a prime candidate to benefit from such a scheme rather than concentrating the trial in the south of England.”
The work study visa was abolished across the UK in 2012. Its abolition meant the Brain family, whose case has hit the headlines, have been left in a state of limbo after coming to Scotland via the work study visa route, which was then scrapped.
SNP MSP for Aberdeenshire East, Gillian Martin, said the decision had been “economic vandalism” which had hurt the area.
She added: “We know that (Prime Minister) Theresa May plans to double-down on these mistakes by further restricting international students.
“The Tories obviously see international students as an easy target to reduce immigration, but all the evidence shows that their approach is an act of economic vandalism hurting a vitally important sector.”