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English UK steps up lobby for EU students

English UK members have been asked to step up their lobbying efforts and join a campaign to spread awareness of the value of the ELT industry to the country.

English UK have asked members to lobby lawmakers in London over students' situation after Brexit. Photo: Pexels

In 2016 around 60% of the UK's 550,000 students came from the EU

The association is lobbying for students to be taken out of the net migration target and to ensure that EU students retain free movement after Brexit.

“We are extremely concerned about the consequences if students from the EU find barriers to entering the UK after Brexit,” English UK CEO Sarah Cooper said.

“It’s a compelling message that we have and it’s an incredibly important industry for the country”

“We need to ensure that as many MPs as possible are aware of the economic and employment hit their constituencies and the wider UK may take.”

The campaign has been launched at the annual English UK conference, which took place in London on May 17.

Members were encouraged to contact their local MPs and use the evidence on the value of the industry that English UK commissioned for the for the current government enquiry into the value of international students to the UK.

According to the figures, the industry supported 37,500 jobs, and contributed £236m to UK taxes in 2016 – and around 60% of the country’s 550,000 students came from the EU.

Attendees were also provided with a ‘lobbying toolkit’ including template letters and advice on how to engage with local politicians and media.

“We have members approaching politicians in all constituencies to explain the value of this industry. The local member of parliament may not maybe understand what the industry does for his local area, and we can substantiate that story with data,” Cooper told The PIE.

The initiative has been well received by attendees to the conference, many of whom had already been campaigning for the industry.

“A lot of language schools have good relationships with their local MPs and we need to use and maximise every single channel possible to get our message across and to get enough people talking about our industry and get some critical mass,” St Giles London principal Mark Rendell told The PIE.

“It’s a compelling message that we have and it’s an incredibly important industry for the country in terms of generating revenue and reputation so we need to tell as many people as possible and explore as many channels.”


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