Improving immigration for ELT: how English UK's campaigns are progressing
20 July 2022

Improving immigration for ELT: how English UK's campaigns are progressing

The end of freedom of movement has caused major issues for members around both student and staff supply, and we are working to address this in several different ways. We are also working on other immigration issues of direct relevance to members.

ID card replacements

English UK is part of a new international demand and competitiveness group, chaired by UKinbound and including key civil servants among its members. This will take forward the campaign for a viable replacement for ID Card travel for junior groups from the EU/EEA.  

Our main proposal is for the Home Office/ UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to produce and administer a group travel scheme, similar to the EU List of Travellers' document, which will be available for use by EU/ EEA juniors travelling in groups with a passported group leader. The group aims to develop a complete proposal by August 2022 and for this to be discussed by an inter-ministerial government group in the early Autumn.  

We'd like to thank everyone who persuaded agents to complete Tourism Alliance's 'School Group Travel Survey' last month on the impact of Brexit on the ELT and wider school group travel industries. Of the 270 agents who completed the survey, an impressive 143 were agents specialising in language travel, giving us excellent data to take to government. Where agents had indicated a downturn on UK school group travel, they overwhelmingly agreed that the end of ID Card travel was the most important factor.

Upscaling the Youth Mobility Scheme

The Tourism Alliance working group is urging the Home Office to sign bilateral YMS deals with our major European partners – initially Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Switzerland – and to allow the transfer of unused places from one country's scheme to another. The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is currently taking this forward on our behalf. If successful, this would potentially support members with both student and staff supply. 

Educational Oversight by Accreditation UK

We have been pushing for this for some time and have now provided UKVI with the information they have requested to make a decision, including evidence of the potential market for Student Visa ELT students from within the EU and an indication of the types of ELT programme (e.g. International Foundation year programmes) that are in scope.

We await further updates and are continuing to raise this issue at every opportunity. 

Upgrading the 11-month STSV 

We have asked UKVI to change its guidance on the 11-month short-term study visa to allow students to study at more than one ELT institution during their course. UKVI has promised to get back to us on this: an initial half-way house might be to allow students to study at different locations within the same organisation. 

Creating end-to-end visas

The Destination for Education working group is proposing to UKVI an end-to-end Student Visa which would allow students to study with different organisations during its duration. This visa would allow a student to take an ELT programme, a BA Honours degree and potentially an MA/MSc. A paper on this will be sent to UKVI shortly. 

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