Scotland reveals intention to retain international students after graduation

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Scotland reveals intention to retain international students after graduation

Scotland has revealed its intentions to broaden the diversity of its international student body and increase the retention of foreign students post-graduation.  

This was discussed during the country’s inaugural international education strategy held recently as the Scottish government outlined plans to launch a new “Talent attraction and migration service” later this year.  

Nairametrics learns that this service aims to offer guidance and support for students considering remaining in Scotland after completing their studies to pursue employment in sectors experiencing growth. 

Additionally, the country plans to leverage its nine international offices to promote transnational education through Scottish educational institutions and bolster the efforts advocating for Scottish universities and their research on a global scale. 

The strategy also includes initiatives to foster stronger connections with Scotland’s diaspora and alumni networks.

Furthermore, a pilot project for a replacement scheme for Erasmus, potentially named the Scottish Education Exchange Programme, is scheduled for implementation.  

The Scottish National Party also proposed plans for a five-year post-study work visa for international students. 

Promoting international student recruitment 

Scotland’s strategy focuses on attracting students, staff, and researchers from outside the UK to diversify the international student body and maximize their contributions to Scotland.  

In the academic year of 2022-23, Scotland hosted 83,000 international students from 180 countries, constituting approximately one-quarter of the total student population. This cohort contributed £4.2 billion in economic benefits during that year. 

The strategy underscores Scotland’s identity as an “outward-looking, inclusive nation” that values its international education capabilities and export potential.

This strategy is contrast to UK government’s recent decision to prohibit taught postgraduates from bringing family members, which came into effect last month. 

What the stakeholders said

Launching the plan at Edinburgh Napier University, Scotland’s higher education minister, Graeme Dey, said,  

  • The strategy sets out our collective aim to create the conditions for our universities and colleges to continue to flourish
  • “In the coming months and years, we will continue to work with Scotland’s universities and colleges to help them diversify their international student, research and staff population by enhancing our reputation as a world-leading safe and inclusive country, with open-minded social policies. 
  • The administration hopes to maximize the social and economic benefits of international higher education and continue to promote Scotland’s world-leading research and knowledge exchange sector on the global stage”. 

In a similar vein, Professor Andrea Nolan, Universities Scotland’s international committee convener and Edinburgh Napier’s vice-chancellor, said, 

  • The strategy gives us a platform, working together with government and other partners, to further develop these positive links to strengthen the sector’s contribution to the economy, society and culture. It also looks to deepen support for the full breadth of universities’ international role
  • We’re already known internationally for the quality of our higher and further education, but what may be less well understood is the role our universities and colleges play as major contributors to inwards investment and the attraction of talented people who want to live and work here. 
  • Working in partnership, we will build on all elements of our international work to grow our reach and impact

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