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Last Updated: Monday, 30 October 2006, 16:12 GMT
Talent drive prompts 12,000 calls
University lecture
About 2,200 foreign students have stayed in Scotland after graduation
A scheme established to encourage people to live in Scotland has attracted more than 12,000 inquiries in its first two years of operation.

The finance minister said the figures proved the Scottish Executive's Fresh Talent initiative has been a success.

Tom McCabe also cited Scotland's rising population and the country's biggest immigration boost in 50 years as proof that the policy was working.

However, a review suggested more must be done to get businesses on board.

The Relocation Advisory Service (RAS) has been running since October 2004 to provide an information and advice service for people interested in moving to Scotland for work or study.

By October 2005, RAS had received inquiries from 12,000 people from about 140 countries.

More than 20,000 Poles have come to Scotland since May 2004
Tom McCabe

Over a quarter of inquiries came from India, with another quarter from Poland.

A report on the first year of the RAS concluded that most customers were happy with the service.

However, it also claimed that the body's promotional drive had led to a backlog of work after an increase in demand that it could not cope with.

Mr McCabe said: "The research clearly recognises Fresh Talent is an ambitious initiative which has already made good progress."

However, he warned the long-term projections continued to show that Scotland's population was ageing and declining and there was "no quick fix".

"It is a long-term problem which requires a long-term solution - but we can now clearly see Fresh Talent is working and addressing this challenge," he said.

'Language difficulties'

A website about living and working in Scotland has also attracted more than 445,000 visitors.

"More than 20,000 Poles have come to Scotland since May 2004," the minister said.

He also revealed that since 2005, more than 2,200 international students had chosen to remain in Scotland for two years following graduation.

A review of the Fresh Talent policy concluded that a significant start had been made in its first two years, but that more must be done to attract employers to the scheme.

It stated: "With limited evidence of an imperative for business to seek out overseas labour and with language difficulties cited as the principal barrier to overseas recruitment, there are real challenges in encouraging business to embrace Fresh Talent."

Jim Mather, the SNP's enterprise spokesman, called for further action to keep talented Scots in the country as well as attracting workers from overseas.




SEE ALSO
UK universities eye Fresh Talent
13 Sep 06 |  Scotland
Fresh Talent student plan hailed
13 Nov 05 |  Scotland
Talent spotting for economy boost
28 Feb 05 |  Scotland
Clash over Fresh Talent 'target'
22 Jun 05 |  Scotland
Overseas interest in talent drive
20 Jun 05 |  Scotland

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