Lobbying, legal and public affairs update

In this month's visa news: what Brexit means for students, visas and the cost of courses; whether host families need to carry out the right to rent checks on all students and taking a photo for the right to rent check.

Brexit

With the vote to leave the European Union (EU) we are aware that we need to reassure students who are already here and more crucially students who are intending to come to the UK.

On Friday morning we contacted our entire agent contact list to reassure them that the UK is open for business as usual. We also published a statement and a message for students on the website and on social media.

These messages will be reiterated to partner agencies again in their newsletter today, and we would recommend, if you have not done so already, you contact your agents and students with a similar message of reassurance.

We are also working on a frequently asked questions tool for members, students and agents.

What Brexit means for students

The UK has voted to leave the European Union. But nothing else has changed for now.

Changes will come as a result of this vote, but they are a long way off. Experts agree that it will take at least two years for the UK to leave the EU, and so we don't anticipate any changes to visas or free movement for European students in that time.

Visas

The visa regime that was in place on Thursday 24 June, the day of the referendum, is still in place today. EU students can travel with their ID cards and Non Visa Nationals can still get their visa upon arrival in the UK.

For European students this means that the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) remains valid for use should they need to use it.

Cost of courses

One of the consequences of the vote and the following uncertainty is that the British pound is now weaker, which means that courses (and flights) are cheaper.

We hope that the cheaper courses will be of interest to students around the world and look forward to welcoming them in the UK in the very near future.

A better deal for the industry

English UK will continue to campaign for a better deal for the industry and we would encourage all member centres to lobby their local MPs to do the same.

We want the government to consider a more student-friendly visa regime, including removing students from net migration figures. Our competitors are demonstrating that they welcome students from all over the world with more accommodating visa regimes and positive rhetoric.

Please keep us updated with your actitivies. We recommend creating a spreadsheet to log meetings and conversations along the lines of the table below that you can share with Naadiya Rawat, our Public Affairs, Policy and Research Manager.

Date Centre
name
Centre
rep(s)
Meeting
with
Job
title
Constituency
(if applicable)
EUK
rep(s)
Key points
discussed
Notes Next
steps
                   
                   


Right to Rent

Following earlier communication about the right to rent scheme, we have sought further clarity from the Home Office to confirm whether host families will need to carry out the right to rent checks on all students.

Based on those discussions the Home Office has recommended the following:

  • a. If the student is staying for 12 weeks or fewer then there is no need to carry out a right to rent check as these arrangements are akin to short term holiday lets which fall outside the scope of the scheme.
  • b. Hosts hosting students who stay longer than 12 weeks will need to carry out a right to rent check before the beginning of the tenancy. However, in cases where the agreement to live with the host is arranged by the school, the right to rent check can be carried out by a school representative.  For best practice reasons we recommend that schools send a (dated) confirmation email to the host family confirming that the check has been carried out.

The Home Office recommends that you seek legal advice if you are unsure about your legal obligations.

Doing a right to rent check

When doing a right to rent check, the Home Office's advice is that a good quality photograph taken with a smartphone or (digital) camera will meet the requirement. To store the picture/copy keeping it with other household documents is acceptable. Hosts are not expected to make paper copies but should make a note, either on or within the copy of the document, of the date it was made.

 

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