Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:05 pm on 26th June 2019.

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Photo of Carol Monaghan Carol Monaghan Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Armed Forces and Veterans), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Education) 3:05 pm, 26th June 2019

That would make a huge difference, because once the application has been refused it is dead, and there is very little that we can do with it. We can support subsequent ones, but not the one that has been refused.

My hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh North and Leith also mentioned academic conferences. That is a serious issue, because it is not just about the economic benefits of hosting academic conferences in cities across the UK; it is about saying that we are open for business, we are outward looking, we are ready to collaborate, and we want to have such relationships with experts from across the world. If we cannot have conferences because people cannot get visas to come to them, we utterly diminish our position.

We have recently been raising the issue of the European temporary leave to remain that has been suggested for after Brexit. It will be a visa, or some sort of certificate, for potential students that will allow them to study at our universities, and it will be for three years. Of course, in Scotland our university courses are four years. Let us imagine for a second that EU students end up being classed as international students and have to pay international fees. We could be talking about £50,000, £60,000 or £70,000 in fees over the course of their degree. Are we expecting them to pay that huge amount of money on a gamble that they might get the tier 4 visa to complete the fourth year of their course? That is insane. Let us be clear: it is discriminatory. It will affect Scottish universities, which have longer courses, far more than other universities.

I will quickly mention the tier 5 religious workers visa. I have been contacted by a constituent and by many priests across the diocese who say that they cannot get supply priests from Africa and India because there have been changes to the visa. I have written to the Minister about that, and she responded that they can get a tier 2 visa. I am sorry—it is too expensive, and the archdiocese of Glasgow can get only two of them. It does not work. The hostile environment is also targeting faith communities.