Hung parliament raises hopes for UK ELT
9 June 2017

Prospects for a softer Brexit and a more welcoming attitude to international students may have improved by the lack of an overall majority for any party in the general election, says English UK.

The Conservative manifesto had promised a full Brexit, leaving both the single market and the customs union, while Labour said it would keep the UK in the single market and the customs union. International students were not mentioned in the Labour document, while the Conservatives had talked about toughening visa requirements for students and keeping them in the immigration statistics.

Any minority administration that governs with the support of others may have to soften its stance on some polices.

Sarah Cooper, chief executive of English UK, said it had been an astonishing night. "The full implications of the vote may not become clear for days or even weeks, but we hope it may reduce the chances of a hard Brexit, or of crashing out of the EU without a deal, both of which could have been damaging to our industry.

"Together with other representatives of the UK's international education sector, we will be continuing to press the case for a more favourable operating environment for our industry to help us compete against countries with full government support. That includes campaigning for students to be taken out of the migration statistics.

"In the meantime, the UK's language centres are open for business and welcoming large numbers of students attracted by our quality, heritage and value for money. We have a fantastic opportunity to build on this, and in our mission to lead the UK ELT industry to success, we are supporting and encouraging members to make sure that students get the best-possible experience, and spread the word that the UK is the place to come to experience English."

Full lists of new MPs are not yet available, but two Liberal Democrats traditionally friendly to UK ELT – Vince Cable and Stephen Lloyd – have both been re-elected.

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