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How the new government can support UK ELT: English UK releases election manifesto

Published on Thursday, December 5, 2019

English UK Manifesto

English language teaching trade association English UK has released a manifesto of steps it wants the incoming Government to take to support the £1.4bn sector.

The association says the 550,000 ELT students who come to the UK each year support over 35,000 jobs. They are also more likely to choose UK universities, and later go on to become influencers for us, supporting good diplomatic and trading relationships.

“UK ELT faces increasing competition,” says the manifesto. “In other English-speaking countries, including the USA, Canada, Australia, Ireland and Malta, the sector is officially supported by immigration rules and warm words of welcome. There is also a risk that Brexit may deter students from coming from the EU if it becomes more difficult to obtain permission to enter the UK.

“As the national association for UK ELT, we and our members work to ensure our industry can compete and grow. But we need the incoming government to create a supportive immigration regime and make students feel welcome.”

The manifesto has eight points it wants the new government to address:

Offer visa-free study travel for students from EU/ EEA countries.

Continue ID card travel for EU/ EEA teenagers on short courses in the UK, or create a passport-free joint travel document for group travel for students aged 18 and under

Create a light-touch, flexible, short-term study visa for up to a year with no time restrictions for all ELT students.

Allow all students already studying in the UK to apply for a new visa for further study without leaving the country.

All English language providers to be accredited and recognise Accreditation UK on all visa routes.

Ensure EEA nationals essential for staffing ELT centres during summer peak periods are not prevented from returning annually by visa rules or salary thresholds.

Restore work rights of up to 20 hours a week for 18+ students on ELT courses with all accredited providers.

Maintain Erasmus+ relationships and funding, including for short-term teacher training.

-We spend a lot of time listening to our members, and the manifesto is based on what they tell us they need to help our industry thrive,” said Susan Young, English UK’s press relations manager. “UK ELT is innovative, with a global reputation for quality and care for under-18s. But in a maturing industry, and with over 60 percent of our students coming from the EU and EEA, we need the Government to do more at a time when Brexit risks deterring many Europeans from travelling to us.”

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