Public affairs & Brexit

Last updated: 28 October 2019

English UK's public affairs and campaigning

What we do

Lobbying on behalf of the English language teaching industry has always been a focus of English UK's work, and has become more important since the referendum to leave the European Union in 2016.

We speak for our members, international English language students and the wider ELT industry to raise both public and political awareness of the benefits that we bring to the UK and its economy.

This includes working with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for international students, participating the Home Office Education Sector Forum, promoting international student mobility through our membership of the Department for International Trade (DIT) working group and keeping in close touch with MPs, officials and key industry stakeholders.

We are a founder and Board member of the Tourism Alliance, the industry voice for the UK's tourism sector.

We also gather data, keep our members informed, and encourage them to make personal contacts with MPs and other opinion-formers.

Our work on Brexit

Our lobbying priorities

We continue to campaign to ensure that the UK Government understands the needs of the ELT sector as well as the wider industry as it makes future immigration arrangements.

Currently, we are:

  • Preparing for a Home Office international education group meeting about short-term study routes and how they affect our sector, after a summer of similar meetings focusing on other aspects of visa and immigration policy
  • Encouraging members to contact their local MPs with concerns about post-Brexit travel arrangements, particularly if they are selected for the Immigration Bill committee.
  • Planning an All Party Parliamentary Group on International Education meeting in Parliament focusing on ELT and FE.

What members can do

Chief Executive Sarah Cooper and other members of the team are in regular contact with ministers, MPs and officials as well as our colleagues in the wider industry.

We believe it is vitally important for members to speak up about the work they do and the benefit it brings to their local and national community, and we encourage you to lobby both formally and informally.

We will be responding to the official consultation on the Immigration White Paper and will encourage our members to do so when we have further details.

Our most recent figures show that in 2016 our sector had a total value of £1.4bn, supported 37,500 jobs, and contributed £236m to UK taxes. Around 60% of the 550,000 ELT students were from the EU. View the full infographic.

Number of international students in value to UK English UK

Our aims:

Our primary campaigning aims are:

  • To enable ELT students to apply for new visas while still in the UK.
  • To ensure the process for junior groups coming from the EU is as simple as possible post-Brexit
  • To ensure the immigration and visa regime is as helpful as possible to our industry, and takes into account our needs
  • To raise awareness and create a more positive climate around our industry.

Contact us at for any support or to tell us what you've been doing.

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