Comment: Time to halt the enforced brain drain

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edinburgh is renowned across the world for its universities.

The Capital is also building up an enviable reputation in the growing tech and biosciences sectors fuelled by the talent which is nurtured here.

But there is a problem. While the city is desperate for highly skilled graduates to work in these fields often current visa requirements mean we are denied the cream of the crop.

Post-study work visas, which allowed non-EU students to remain in the UK for two years after finishing their studies, were scrapped under new immigration controls brought in by the Westminster coalition government in 2012, and it has hit Edinburgh particularly hard.

New Edinburgh East SNP MP Tommy Sheppard has taken up the call for a change in the rules and it is a campaign which deserves to be supported.

There are clearly great issues surrounding immigration across the whole of the UK but this one element is perhaps an area for compromise.

The value to Edinburgh in particular but the country as a whole of international students is clear to see.

There is the resultant economic boost as well as the ability to recruit graduates into specialist positions, perhaps in over-stretched services like our hospitals, which would otherwise prove difficult to fill.

Provided safeguards are in place, introducing a new system to allow international students to remain in the Capital and halt the enforced brain drain, seems like a no-brainer.

While there will no doubt be difficulties imposing this UK-wide, as temporary visas they may not even need to be included in immigration figures.

It is exactly the sort of issue which our new MPs should be pursuing in Westminster and we wish Mr Sheppard well in his campaign.