Richard Lochhead

Moray SNP News



Richard Lochhead MSP has written to the Moray Council to question why it isn’t registered to sponsor visas for teachers from overseas despite facing a serious teacher shortage.

Mr Lochhead was contacted by a teacher from the United States, who is registered with the General Teaching Council for Scotland, and who is desperate to teach in Moray.  The music teacher can’t get a teaching job in Moray because she doesn’t have a visa, but she can’t get a visa because she doesn’t have a job.

Other rural local authorities in Scotland, including neighbouring Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City and Highland Councils, are all registered visa sponsors.  Moray’s MSP has questioned why the Council hasn’t taken the step of becoming a sponsor to attract workers from overseas given the difficulties the local authority has had recruiting key workers.

The SNP MSP said:

“Given the well-publicised recruitment issues the Council has faced in recent years, I have to admit that I was quite surprised to discover that the local authority isn’t a registered visa sponsor for workers from overseas.

“So here we have a qualified teacher from the United States, who is registered with the GTCS, and is desperate to teach in a Moray school and can’t get a job without a visa, but the Council isn’t registered to sponsor her to get one. 

“For some time now Moray has struggled to fill teacher vacancies and we continue to compete with other areas to attract staff to work in our schools, and in my view it is vital that the Moray Council does absolutely everything in its power to fill vacant posts.  To me, it seems like registering to become a visa sponsor would be a no brainer for the Council and I’m keen to understand why Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City and Highland Council have taken this approach but Moray Council hasn’t.

“Whilst I appreciate that we won’t be able to solve our teacher recruitment problems completely by looking to people from overseas, if sponsoring visas means we can fill even a few of our current vacancies then I think it is important that the Council explores this option.”