A second principal of a Scottish university has launched a blistering attack on the UK Government’s immigration policies which he claims are “hindering recruitment plans” following the Tory government’s decision to include overseas students in revised UK immigration targets.
Professor Craig Mahoney, principal of the University of the West of Scotland, has said the UK is positioning itself as less attractive to overseas students and academic staff.
It follows similar comments by University of Glasgow principal Professor Anton Muscatelli who suggested there should be a differentiated Brexit deal to safeguard Scotland’s interests – saying that while the rise in EU immigration “has gone some way to stabilising our population and added significantly to our economic activity, there is now a real and serious danger that this progress will be stalled or entirely reversed as a result of Brexit.”
The SNP has been opposed to the Tories’ immigration targets, and have repeatedly called for the reintroduction of the post-study work visa, which allowed international students to remain in Scotland and work after graduation. The call has been backed by businesses, colleges and universities, and has cross-party support in the Scottish Parliament amongst every political party represented in Holyrood.
Commenting, Gavin Newlands, SNP Candidate for Paisley and Renfrewshire North said: “Everyone in Renfrewshire is well aware of the positive contribution that international UWS students make to our communities. UWS, and our local communities, rely heavily on international students and staff who make an important contribution to the local economy and enrich our culture.
“Following Craig Mahoney’s comments condemning the Tories at Westminster for damaging immigration targets which will hit Scotland’s universities and the wider economy, it is clear that we need strong SNP voices standing up for Scotland – only then can we protect Scottish universities from the dangers of an unopposed Tory government at Westminster.
“The SNP will continue to work tirelessly to stand up for Scotland’s interests at Westminster in the face of some deeply damaging Tory policies.”