The Scottish Secretary has said he will take a Westminster committee's proposals for improvements to post-study work arrangements "directly to the Prime Minister".

David Mundell was taken to task by the Scottish Affairs Committee after appearing to rule out reintroducing a scheme to allow overseas graduates to work in Scotland after they complete their studies.

In a ministerial statement published earlier this month, he said there was "no intention" to revive the post-study work visa, brought in in 2005 and axed in 2012, stating that current graduate schemes were excellent.

The committee is currently undertaking an inquiry into the possibility introducing a formal post-study visa in Scotland.

Mr Mundell said: "I want to make clear that it was not my intention to suggest that work on all of these issues was closed, it was not an interpretation that I anticipated would be placed on the written ministerial statement, which of course covered a wide range on areas.

"I do regret any misunderstanding that might have arisen in that regard and want to make absolutely clear that it is not the position in respect of any of these issues in which there are ongoing discussions.

"With respect to post-study work visas, the statement did not set out a new position but reiterated the view which had been previously expressed by the UK Government to this committee and to the Scottish Government."

He said that while there was no intention to reintroduce the former visa scheme, other improvements could be considered.

"It doesn't mean that the government will not look at any reasonable suggestion to improve the current arrangements ... and it is on that basis ... I am very pleased to look at what is in your report, give due weight to the evidence that you've taken and ensure that that evidence and report is before colleagues in the Home Office," he said.

Mr Mundell went on to say "the best way to be able to change the current situation is for this committee to come forward with hard evidence, with specific proposals about changes that it wants to see made".

He said the Prime Minister's view is that the current arrangements are "generous".

"If, however, this committee comes forward with views and representations that that can be done better, then I am very happy to take that directly to the Prime Minister," he added.

International Development Minister Humza Yousaf said there is "consensus" in Scotland for post-study work visas.

"If David Mundell is genuinely distancing himself from his own written statement last week ruling out the reintroduction of a post-study work visa to Scotland then I look forward to hearing his proposals," Mr Yousaf said.

"There is cross-sector and cross-party consensus in Scotland for the reintroduction of a post-study work visa. From universities and colleges right through to businesses and trade unions, it is widely recognised that giving the brightest minds from across the world the chance to work here after graduation will benefit Scotland economically, culturally and socially.

"The UK Government's failure to honour the Smith Commission recommendations and consult with the Scottish Government to explore the reintroduction of a post-study work visa has been criticised across the board and I hope today is a sign that the UK Government is starting to see sense on this issue."