Overseas students bring more than £4bn to the Scots economyrepresenting thousands of pounds worth of benefits to residents.

Figures indicate overseas students contribute over £4bn to the Scottish economy, bringing thousands of pounds worth of benefits to residents, but a new UK government policy comes into effect in January 2024 with severe restrictions around dependents.

In a statement Tuesday, the Secretary of State for the Department of the Interior, Suella Braverman, outlined a new immigration policy that will limit visa options for families of foreign students.

As of January, only international students who are registered in postgraduate research programs will be allowed visas to bring their dependents to the UK. All other international students will be prohibited from bringing their dependents if they choose to study in the UK.

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The policy will also prevent students from switching from student route visas to work route visas before they have completed their studies.

A spokesperson for the universities Scotland he said the new policy could make “invaluable” international students feel unwelcome at Scottish universities.

International students must be valued

According to Ms Braverman, around 136,000 UK visas were granted to dependents of sponsored students in the year ending December 2022. That is more than eight times the 16,000 granted in 2019.

A Scottish Government spokesman said it was important Scotland was able to attract and retain talented people to work and study without subjecting them to “undue barriers”.

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“It is appalling that the UK government has announced its intention to restrict international students from bringing their dependent family members to the UK.

“Scotland welcomes international students to our universities and colleges and recognizes the important and valuable contribution they make to our Scottish educational institutions, economy and society. These students add to the diversity of our communities, enrich the learning experience, and support local students. business and jobs”.

Alastair Sim, Head of Universities for Scotland, said the new policy will need to be implemented carefully and in close collaboration with university leaders.

“It will be very important for the UK government to work with the sector, across the UK, first to understand and then to reflect on the potential impact of these changes on universities and their communities at large.”

Foreign students provide an important economic boost

He added: “International students make an invaluable contribution to Scotland, not just to our universities and the broader economy.”

TO A report published last week found that the economic impact of students from abroad it is worth around £4.75 billion to the economy.

Home to 3,060 overseas students, Glasgow Central makes a profit of £292m, roughly £2,720 per local resident, according to the study.

Contributions from overseas students in the Edinburgh East constituency are equivalent to £268 million, or £2,420 per resident.

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Mr Sim said these benefits should not be taken lightly and overseas students should be encouraged to study in Scotland and elsewhere in the UK.

“Ultimately, talent knows no borders. We want the sharpest and most inquisitive minds to learn, teach and research here in Scotland. That benefits not only your university, but the nation and the world at large. International students need to know that they are always welcome in Scotland.”

New policy is part of a broader goal to reduce the number of immigrants

Ms Braverman told MPs: “This package strikes the right balance between acting decisively to address net migration and protecting the economic benefits students can bring to the UK.

“Now is the time for us to make these changes to ensure an impact on net migration as soon as possible. We expect this package to have a tangible impact on net migration.

“We are committed to attracting the brightest and best to the UK.

“Therefore, our intention is to work with universities over the course of the coming year to design an alternative approach that ensures the best and brightest students can bring dependents to our world-leading universities while continuing to reduce net migration.”

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