With stops in London, Bristol, Manchester and Edinburgh, the roadshow ran through likely scenarios for dealing with VAT, immigration and trends in the event of different Brexit outcomes.
“Brexit is also influencing the mindset of non-EU based agents”
“We want to ensure the entire UK ELT industry is as well prepared as it can be for Brexit, with or without a deal,” Huan Japes, membership director of English UK, told The PIE News.
“Sessions covered key elements people need to know and do in areas such as student immigration, the employment of EU nationals, EU-funded courses, health insurance and the treatment of VAT. We have also looked at business development post-Brexit, including an interesting survey of agent sentiment both inside and outside the EU.”
Thomas Mobee opened the session with an in-depth look at VAT changes that may affect those working with goods and services from EU27 countries, including those who use agents abroad.
Immigration lawyer Pat Saini, who appeared at Study World 2019, encouraged ELT providers to heed the government’s advice and prepare for a no-deal Brexit. She looked at how employees and incoming students might be affected by new regulations in the future.
Patrik Pavlacic of Bonard noted the advantages ELT providers in countries like Ireland and Malta are likely to gain through Brexit and at how the Philippines is becoming a hot new destination for English learners in Asia, before recommending Colombia, Japan, Mexico, Vietnam, Thailand and Brazil as source markets to watch out for.
“The UK bounced back after three consecutive years of decline in 2017. We saw a two percentage point growth in student numbers, but a zero point nine decline in terms of student weeks. Again, this was still a better result than the aggregate data for the entire market,” he said.
Pavlacic also discussed a recent poll Bonard conducted among around 200 agents on their views of Brexit.
“One of the key takeaways was that we asked them whether they will increasingly promote English language courses in other destinations,” he explained.
“And you can see that they staggering of the 82% of EU based agents told us that they would do so. In the case of non-EU based agents, it was only 60%.
“My reading of this would be that Brexit is also influencing the mindset of non-EU based agents. When talking with them, I would give the information that you also provide to EU based agents to make sure that these guys are on the same page.”
English UK will continue to provide Brexit-related updates, including a response to the findings of the agent survey and a factsheet on GDPR post-Brexit, with some sessions from the roadshow being made available on film.