Public affairs & campaigning

Last updated: Thursday 21 May 2020

Campaigning for UK ELT

What we do

Lobbying on behalf of the English language teaching industry is a key focus of English UK's work.

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 producing essential data on our industry. Our most recent figures show our sector has a total annual value of £1.4bn, supports over 37,500 jobs, and contributes £236m to UK taxes. Around 60% of the 550,000 ELT students were from the EU. 

We work with the All-Party Parliamentary Group for international students; participate the Home Office Education Sector Forum; attend Home Office international education group meetings; promote international student mobility through our membership of the Department for International Trade (DIT) working group; and keep in close touch with MPs, officials and key industry stakeholders.

We are also a founder and Board member of the Tourism Alliance, the industry voice for the UK's tourism sector, keep our members informed and encourage them to make personal contacts with MPs and other opinion-formers.

 


Our campaign aims

We campaign to ensure the UK Government understands the needs and value of the ELT sector. The UK ELT sector not only raises over £1.4 billion a year for the UK economy, it benefits every part of the UK with jobs and cultural exchange.

We want to ensure that:

  • The UK is a welcoming place for international students from around the world
  • It is easy for students to come to the UK to study English
  • ELT is a valuable industry for the UK, both economically and in terms of influence

What we want the new government to do

  • Offer visa-free study travel for students from EU/ EEA countries.
  • Continue ID card travel for EU/ EEA teenagers on short courses in the UK, or create a passport free joint travel document for group travel for students aged 18 and under
  • Create a light-touch, flexible, short-term study visa for up to a year with no time restrictions for all ELT students.
  • Allow all students already studying in the UK to apply for a new visa for further study without leaving the country.
  • All English language providers to be accredited and recognise Accreditation UK on all visa routes.
  • Ensure EEA nationals essential for staffing ELT centres during summer peak periods are not prevented from returning annually by visa rules or salary thresholds.
  • Restore work rights of up to 20 hours a week for 18+ students on ELT courses with all accredited providers.
  • Maintain Erasmus+ relationships and funding, including for short-term teacher training.
 Read our full manifesto for the 2019 election +
 

Lobbying for UK ELT during Covid-19 pandemic

The English UK public affairs team is focused on getting our members through the Covid-19 crisis as well as working on longer-term issues to ensure the survivial of our industry.

 

Campaigning around Brexit and the new Immigration Bill

Last updated: Thursday 21 May 2020

On Monday 18 May the Immigration Bill had its second reading, passing by over 100 votes. The Bill as currently drafted ends freedom of movement for EU/EEA citizens and confers powers to the Home Office to enact changes to the Immigration Rules via secondary legislation.

The Bill is now committed for public scrutiny and English UK has prepared a memorandum and proposed amendment emphasising our key concerns around the Bill, the changes to the immigration rules we would like to see, and requiring the government to commit all future proposals around the rules to expert scrutiny before making changes. We have also indicated that we are willing to appear before the scrutiny committee to present our concerns.

Summary of English UK's proposals for a model new immigration system for ELT:

Students:

  • Create a passport-free joint travel document for group travel for students aged 18 and under
  • Create a light-touch, flexible, short-term study visa for up to a year with no time restrictions for all ELT students
  • Allow all students already studying in the UK to apply for a new visa for further study without leaving the country
  • All English language providers to be accredited, and recognise Accreditation UK on all visa routes
  • Restore work rights of up to 20 hours a week for 18+ students on ELT courses with all accredited providers. 

Staffing:

  • Government should introduce a temporary workers' regime to support business transition to the new immigration system
  • The existing Youth Mobility Scheme should be expanded to include EU/EEA countries on a reciprocal basis
  • There should be mandatory regular reviews of the Shortage Occupation List.

Maintain Erasmus+ relationships and funding

While the Government negotiates with the EU, we need it to maintain the Erasmus+ relationships and funding. A significant proportion of ELT students and ELT teachers taking training courses are supported by the EU Erasmus+ scheme. Losing this business could close many ELT centres.


What members can do

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.

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