Every English UK member centre is being encouraged to join a campaign to highlight the value of ELT to the country.
We want to ensure that post-Brexit, EU students can continue to enter the UK as easily as now, and for students to be removed from net migration figures.
Underpinning the campaign are new figures on the value of the industry, which we commissioned for the current government enquiry into the value of international students to the UK. They 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 per cent of the 550,000 ELT students were from the EU. View the full inforgraphic.
Launching the campaign at English UK's annual conference, chief executive Sarah Cooper said: "We are extremely concerned about the consequences if students from the EU find barriers to entering the UK after Brexit. We need to ensure that as many MPs as possible are aware of the economic and employment hit their constituencies and the wider UK may take if the needs of these largely short-term students – here for an average of under four weeks - aren't taken into consideration.
"As a small organisation, we can amplify the effect of our campaigns by asking members to take an active role. We did something similar a couple of years ago, and had an amazing response from many member centres."
We have sent a specially-created campaigning toolkit to all our members. It includes an infographic about the local and regional value of ELT, template letters and advice on working with MPs and local and social media. We are encouraging every member centre to contact their local representatives to highlight the value of ELT to the local and national economy, and to build a presence in local and social media.
"We believe these figures, drawn from every aspect of a student's stay in the UK, will tell a very strong story to the inquiry and to the Government about the value of our industry," said Ms Cooper, adding: "What the figures don't show – but other evidence does – are the other huge benefits these students bring to the UK. A summer holiday here to learn English can lead to a student choosing a university and perhaps a postgraduate course here, and a lifetime of affinity to the UK once they return home. After Brexit, this is exactly the kind of international relationship we need to build."
If you do not receive your toolkit, want some help with campaigning or want to share your successes with other English UK members, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will be publishing regular updates to the campaign in the public affairs area of our website.