Scotland's First Minister Backs Chinese Teachers In Visa Row

By Editorial 14 November, 2013

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond has told Chinese education officials in Beijing that the Scottish Government will "do all it can" to assist two Chinese teachers formerly working in Scotland whose visas were refused renewals after a year in the UK.

Three other teachers, from the same municipality of Tianjin close to Beijing, were granted renewals by the UK Border Agency.

Salmond described the visa refusals as "nonsensical obstacles," and ahead of his visit to China he wrote a curt letter to Prime Minister David Cameron asking how he should explain "this ridiculous policy" while in the country and calling on Cameron to reverse it. Moving on from Beijing to Hong Kong, Salmond added that the decision had caused "needless offence."

The First Minister spoke with officials from Hanban, an arm of the Ministry of Education which promotes Chinese learning and language around the globe, to mark the establishment of Scotland's fifth Confucius Institute for Business and Communication. The Institute will be based at Heriot-Watt University, and follows the creation of institutes at Edinburgh, Glasgow, Strathclyde and Aberdeen. The institutes support Chinese learning, culture and language internationally, and set the standards for teaching Chinese as a foreign language.

Salmond said that the move would make Scotland "the most successful Confucius country in Europe," which was why it was "imperative" to solve the visa problem. He added that an independent Scotland would have a more liberal immigration system in which foreign students would have the right to work for a "sustained period of time."

The meeting was part of a Scottish trade mission to China involving delegations from the oil and gas and construction sectors, and formed part of Scotland's China Strategy to build relations with the superpower over the next five years.

Tags: China | United Kingdom | Education | Expats | Working Abroad | Work | Working Abroad | Education | Working Abroad |


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