‘Don’t restrict foreign students’ - St Andrews councillor

Cllr Thomson wants the plan reversed
Cllr Thomson wants the plan reversed

A St Andrews councillor is aiming to reverse a government plan to restrict the number of international students coming into the UK.

Brian Thomson has lodged a motion calling on Fife Council to voice concerns over the Conservative proposal, due to the impact it could have on St Andrews as a university town.

The motion asks that the council “recognises the outstanding contribution that international students make to Scotland, in terms of their contribution to the country’s social and cultural life”.

The motion adds that the council “would regard any attempt to restrict the recruitment of international students as deeply impoverishing to Fife and Scotland, both culturally and economically, and therefore urges the Home Secretary to abandon the proposed restrictions, and allow Scotland’s quality-assured universities to continue welcoming international students to their diverse range of courses”.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd made the proposal at the Tory party conference in Birmingham in October.

She wants to restrict the number of foreign students coming into the UK, linking student immigration rules to the quality of colleges and courses.

The Home Office is still currently considering the plans.

Councillor Thomson, said: “I was pleased that my motion received majority backing at the recent Fife Council meeting.

“Here in St Andrews, we have Scotland’s oldest and most international university, where almost 3000 of the 8500 students are from outwith the EU. Around 115 nationalities are represented in the town, all of whom make a valuable contribution to university and town life.

“The University employs around 2000 people, and directly supports around another 7000 jobs across Fife, Tayside and other areas of Scotland, and the income from international students is a fundamental component in maintaining that number of jobs.

“Asides from the economic benefits of international students, there are huge cultural benefits of having such a large number of international students residing in the town.”

It has been reported that the Conservative plans involve cutting the number of international students in the UK from 300,000 to 170,000.