Learn and then return

January 20, 2006

Syeda Zehra Jafri, a business studies graduate of Strathclyde University, Glasgow, is among a new wave of overseas graduates drawn back to work in Scotland under the country's Fresh Talent scheme, writes Olga Wojtas.

While England stands accused of potentially deterring overseas students with the controversial changes to its visa system, Scotland is making it easier for graduates such as Ms Jafri - who comes from Pakistan - to return to work in the country. The scheme is designed to encourage people from outside the European Economic Area to pursue a career in Scotland and help counter the country's population decline.

Ms Jafri, who undertook an MBA at Strathclyde, opened a stationery and computer accessories business, The Forge, two months ago in Glasgow. She had identified opportunities in the market while studying for her MBA.

After completing her degree, Ms Jafri returned to Pakistan to work in the family's tyre business. But she was soon lured back to Scotland by the Fresh Talent scheme, which allows non-EU students graduating from a Scottish college or higher education institution to remain and work for two years without the need for a work permit.

Ms Jafri said: "I think Fresh Talent is wonderful, a very good opportunity.

I want (my business) to grow." She is now one of 100 graduates returning to Scotland under the scheme, which was launched last June by the Scottish Executive and the Home Office.

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