IAN Blackford has slammed the UK Government’s proposals to curtail the contributions of EU citizens to Scotland by imposing a Tier 4 visa rule as “sheer arrogance”.

Speaking exclusively to the Sunday National, Blackford highlighted the fact that the country depends on the influx of foreign talent to Scottish universities having the opportunity to stay in Scotland.

“This is extraordinary because our economic future is really dependant on our ability to attract talent,” he said.

“Students should have the decision to continue their working life here after studying.”

The National:

Last week, the SNP’s John McNally and Carole Monaghan both raised the issue that the Tory proposal to impose three-year visas made no sense in Scotland, where Honours courses typically last three years.

“The SNP recognise the enormous contribution that EU students at colleges and universities in Scotland make to our local communities,” SNP education spokesperson Carole Monaghan said.

“That’s why the Scottish Government has committed to extending free tuition for EU students starting courses in 2020.”

Blackford added: "To have the sheer arrogance of a Tory Government that simply fails to recognise the nature of Scottish education where our degree courses are generally four years or longer – the Government are only offering a three-year visa.”

However, he also raised the point that deterring students from coming to Scotland to study would have wide-ranging impacts on Scotland’s reputation as a place of innovation and academic excellence.

“It is completely unacceptable and it doesn’t just offend us and our sense of doing the right thing by those young people and help enrich our society by coming here – but it is a real slap in the face to the academic community who have worked so hard to ensure that Scottish education is world leading,” he said.

Blackford’s colleagues last week demanded a tailored immigration system for Scotland and also slammed the Westminster Government for stripping Scottish students of their ability to take part in the Erasmus programme and ensuring that Scotland would lose out on millions of pounds of EU funding.

“It really is the height of arrogance and the height of stupidity,” Blackford added.

It shows quite demonstrably that this is a government that has failed and has no authority in Scotland or moral authority by their actions.

“The effect this will have right across the chain and the signal it sends will be disastrous. We want people to come and make a contribution to life in Scotland.”