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Scotland Encourages Talented Chinese Students to Stay
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A total of 333 Chinese students in Scotland have successfully applied for a talent-seeking scheme to work in the region for two years after graduation without requiring a work permit.


Latest figures show that 1,176 international students have taken advantage of the "Fresh Talent Working in Scotland Scheme" that was launched last June by the Scottish Executive and Home Office, revealed the Scottish Government in Beijing on Saturday.


To date, there have been no failed applications.


The scheme, which enables non-EU students who graduated with a Higher National Diploma from a Scottish college to stay for two years without work permits, aims to attract talented youngsters to live and work in Scotland, the only country within the UK whose population is projected to decline.


Steven Szymoszowskyj, a Fresh Talent Policy development officer with the Scottish government, said they would further promote the scheme this year, especially to students from China. Szymoszowskyj was in Beijing at the weekend attending the 11th China International Education Exhibition Tour.


He said the scheme helps solve the biggest difficulty for international students who want to stay in Scotland to find jobs with work permits within a very limited period of time.


Applicants may either leave the country at the end of the period or switch to one of the specified managed migration schemes.


However, figures show that only 1,176 of an estimated 6,000 eligible students have so far applied. And the number of Chinese applicants was not big compared to the total population of Chinese graduates in Scotland.


"Considering the scheme is in its first year, we're satisfied with the turnout, and are optimistic the number of applicants will increase," Szymoszowskyj said.


About 4,000 Chinese students are in Scottish colleges and the number continues to rise, according to the Scottish government.


Applicants are required to prove only that they are non-EU students and graduates from Scottish colleges. But the scheme does not guarantee employment, so applicants will need to compete against other students, including those from Scotland and other parts of the UK.


Szymoszowskyi said they are trying to get close contacts with successful applicants, but so far they are not clear how many and in which specific fields Chinese graduates have been employed.


The two-day education exhibition, which ended yesterday in Beijing, attracted about 350 colleges from 27 countries. Xi'an, provincial capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, will be its next stop.


(China Daily February 20, 2006)

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