Scottish Visas

Part of First Minister's Question Time – in the Scottish Parliament at 12:00 pm on 22nd January 2004.

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Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party 12:00 pm, 22nd January 2004

I welcome the proposal to give foreign students extended visas as at least a partial solution to a declining population, but is the First Minister aware that many asylum seekers who live in Scotland also have skills of which we are desperately short and that they would grab with both hands the opportunity to work rather than be dependent on state support? Will the First Minister enter into discussions with the Home Secretary with a view to giving asylum seekers the right to apply for permission to work, as they could do even only a few years ago, so that they can start to make a positive contribution to the communities in which they live?