Tier 4 language requirement "barmy", Bournemouth MP tells The Politics Show
24 May 2010

BBC1’s The Politics Show featured a story on how the B1 language requirement is going to affect the profitable international student industry.

The programme visited Anglo-Continental in Bournemouth, interviewing Director Guido Schillig, and also the town’s new MP, Conor Burns.

Mr Burns poured scorn on the language requirement. “It’s so barmy I have to think it was an unintended consequence," he said. "To raise the requirement on speaking English to come to learn English – I question their sanity.

"We’re speaking specifically about people coming to the UK to learn English, and saying you have to know English before coming to learn English is mad."

Mr Burns said the sector is worth at least £1.5bn to the economy, with large numbers of people directly employed by the schools or acting as host families. "It’s a massive issue and very detrimental to the UK economy," he said.

Home office ministers, he said, were being "very open minded" about the issue and he hoped it would be possible to cut back the required English level.

Mr Schillig told the programme that students would go to other countries instead of the UK. Currently Anglo Continental employs 86 teachers, rising to 270 during the summer, and teaches 3,000 students a year. Student numbers are expected to drop by 270 as a result of the new regulations.


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