Not quite stop press, but as I write this in "the most perilous week for the PM", we appear to be on the final countdown for the publication of the Immigration White Paper, promised by mid November.
This will coincide nicely with the publication of the recent All Party Parliamentary Inquiry into building a sustainable future for UK international education, which will complement the MAC enquiry yet be much more supportive of the need for a strategy to grow the industry. The launch, next Tuesday, will comprise a panel discussion chaired by the Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP with Steve Phillips, our chair, representing us.
Lobbying across the sector has certainly intensified over recent weeks and for English UK this included participation in a private roundtable, hosted by Universities UK, at both major party conferences. English UK was the only non-HE industry representative at both. This gave us a unique opportunity to put across our key campaign messages to the Shadow Home Secretary at the Labour conference and the Immigration Minister at the Conservative conference.
Although we know that our half million students come for all sorts of courses, it was very helpful to hear the president of Universities UK emphasise the significance of UK ELT to the HE sector at both events.
Those present were clearly taken aback at the size of our sector, and so we were able to highlight how critical it is to preserve our EU source markets post Brexit.
The response, though not yet committed to policy, was positive in terms of understanding visa free access for short stay EU students, but less so in terms of ID cards. We press on with that message and thank you to all of you who have been using our letter template to write to your MPs and sharing your responses with us. Please do read and share my recent article on the need for a welcoming Britain after Brexit.
The Immigration Minister will be attending the small DIT Sector Advisory Group meeting on Tuesday 20 November, at our invitation. We are delighted to have the opportunity of emphasising a cross departmental approach to growing international education, as well as, of course, focussing on the barriers which have prevented us from doing so.
This meeting is chaired by two ministers, Graham Stuart from DIT and Sam Gyimah from DfE and BEIS, so it is a critically important to have the Home Office engaged in this discussion too.
The voice of English UK has been heard throughout the year on a number of issues, particularly Brexit and future immigration scenarios, both at key stakeholder events and in policy influencing contexts. In addition, our opinion is now regularly solicited by key trade press, and a compilation of this will be presented to the Main Board at our next meeting Thursday 8 November.
An update from English UK Chief Executive Sarah Cooper