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Visa Income Thresholds: Universities

Volume 743: debated on Monday 15 January 2024

9. What assessment he has made of the potential impact of proposed changes to visa income thresholds on the university sector. (900921)

We have been mindful of the need to balance the impacts on individual sectors with economic growth, and the needs of the labour market with the need to reduce levels of immigration. As part of our policy development, we undertook analytical work across Government that supports our decisions. A regulatory impact assessment will be developed in due course.

The director of Universities Scotland, Alastair Sim, has expressed concern that changes to the Government’s visa income threshold could affect universities’ ability to attract global talent. International students and academics make a contribution in excess of £5 billion annually to the Scottish economy. If the Government recognise the contribution of international students and academics, as they say they do, why are they introducing a policy that threatens to prevent future cohorts of them from making a similar contribution?

Individuals will still be able to make a valid contribution in the years ahead, but in a sustainable and managed way. There are no immediate plans to introduce further exemptions to the increased salary threshold, but the salary discounts remain in place. We will continue to engage as the measures are introduced. There are also opportunities domestically for recruitment. At every opportunity, we should be trying to support domestic recruitment wherever we can.