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EU students 'will be able to finish four-year degrees'

The UK education secretary made the assurance amid concern over post-Brexit immigration changes.

By STV News

Published 16 Sep 2019.

European students at Scottish universities will be able to complete their courses after Brexit, the UK education secretary has pledged.

Gavin Williamson, speaking on a visit to the University of Glasgow, insisted the UK Government would find a way to ensure students from EU nations can finish their four-year degrees.

Under current proposals, students will be able to be apply for temporary leave to remain status lasting 36 months.

The Scottish Government has said this is not sufficient for students in Scotland, where undergraduate degrees usually last four years.

Scotland's higher education minister Richard Lochhead last week suggested the UK's planned immigration reforms could act as a "wrecking ball" to the country's academic institutions.

But speaking on Monday after a meeting with Glasgow university vice-chancellor Anton Muscatelli, Williamson said: "Be absolutely clear - we are going to make sure that there is a solution to this.

"We are not going to be in a situation where Scottish universities are disadvantaged because of their degree structure and we need Scottish universities to be those brilliantly competitive university institutions that are able to attract the very best talent into Scotland in the future as they have always been in the past.

"So that is something that we are going to deliver a solution for.

"You'll never see a student that is doing a four-year degree at a Scottish university being told that they can't complete it and we shouldn't be tolerating any form of scaremongering that that is going to be the case."

The education secretary added that post-study work visas would help Scotland and the UK to attract the "very best" talent to universities.

Williamson's visit to Glasgow came as a survey published by Universities UK found Scotland's universities are either "very" or "extremely" concerned about the prospect of a no-deal Brexit.

Around half of the institutions that took part in the study said they had seen an impact on their staff, with a third experiencing fluctuating demand from European students.

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