Massive Drop in General Student Visas

Dec 12, 2011

English Schools all over London and the UK say that numbers of students applying for General Student Visas for English courses fell anywhere between 50 and 95% since the latter part of 2011.  This trend is set to continue with the withdrawal of work rights for non-EU students taking English courses at 'lower than degree level' (i.e. at Private English Language Colleges) that was introduced last summer showing no signs of reversing.

So, such schools have lost the revenue generated from the long courses favoured by non-EU students, the majority of whom wanted to work and study benefiting from the financial support and the enhanced cultural experience of being part of a English-speaking company.

An unwelcome side-effect of this for specialist English schools is what is seen by many as the unfair skewing of the market in favour of government institutions (Universities) who retained work rights for their students & are now profiting from the wholesale movement of non-EU English language students to their on-campus courses.  The student must weigh up his priorities: spend double the amount to study English at a University and work for 10 hours a week or pay for a cheaper course and have no work entitlement.  Unsurprisingly, the lure of work & its exciting potential wins out for many and again, specialist English schools (and, of course English school students) are the losers.

To add to their woes, schools are facing yet another severe financial penalty: to retain HTS status and issue General Student Visa compliant courses, they are now required by law to be inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) who commonly charge three to four times the amount previously charged by the British Council for an equivalent inspection.  This cost, frequently over £12,000 is prohibitive for a great many language schools, a large proportion of whom have now chosen to opt out of the General Student Visa market altogether.

What to do?  English Schools are, of course, re-focusing on the EU.  Alongside this, higher value, shorter and so less visa-restricted courses such as Legal English & Business English are proliferating.  Many are increasing prices dramatically.  From our side, at the Islington Centre for English, we are opting to keep prices low as this is central to our market identity and to lose this would be to lose our defining characteristic.

What else can be done?  Hold on to your hats! From a school owner's perspective; keep finances sound & hope that in the not-too-distant future the Government will decide, as in the US, that students should not be defined as immigrants.  Indeed, the vast majority of students return home after contributing to cash-strapped local businesses who are in dire need of their foreign money, so they should be viewed both in economic and social terms very positively.  They are a win win for this country - bring in money, enhance the reputation of the UK global brand and then go home again. Foreign students are a great bonus for the local homestay families, hairdressers, cafes, clothes shops and pubs all over the UK - and even utterly crucial in English seaside towns like Brighton & Eastbourne and so, the political will to reclassify students will hopefully emerge.  Fingers crossed.

What should the Govt be doing to regain control of our borders?  In my view, they should target countries with terrible track records of playing the visa system. The cliched spam email senders or the 'schools' above a shop in Manchester or Luton offering low quality or non-existent tuition quite openly 'for a visa' with little pretense of education being on offer. Why not stop families switching their houses into each member's names in order to bring non-English speaking wives and husbands into the UK and other openly discussed scam techniques?

Sadly, the government's late efforts to rid ourselves of this particular bathwater has sent the baby flying out of the window and good English schools with high educational standards suffer enormously for the immoral acts of a few.

Looking forward to a more enlightened 2012!

Category: news

Add Pingback

Please add a comment

You must be logged in to leave a reply. Login »

Category List

Tag List

World Naked Bike Ride (1)
english grammar online (1)
Relaxing London (4)
New blog (1)
music festivals uk (1)
exams (1)
Field day (1)
narrative voice (2)
past modal verbs (1)
Adjective (2)
Listening in English (2)
ILEC (1)
Business English (1)
Idiom (3)
Social programme (1)
Things to do in London (6)
Tourist tips (5)
Tweed (1)
reading tips (1)
grammar tips (1)
student study tips (1)
saga (1)
things to do london (1)
english school london (12)
English food (3)
Halloween (2)
Journalism Masterclass (1)
Attractions in London (1)
Students (2)
english review (1)
English (1)
Journalism classes London (1)
Improve your vocabulary (5)
English grammar (4)
English vocabulary (3)
Fun (1)
english study tips (1)
london events (1)
Somewhere to visit (9)
mini-saga (1)
Hello from Ally (1)
Beautiful London (8)
ICE (5)
Covent Garden (1)
english courses london (1)
Learn English (15)
English tips (4)
study english onlline (1)
Winter in London (6)
Somewhere to go London (3)
Cool as a cucumber (1)
the shard (1)
writing a mini saga (1)
pronuciation (3)
Sport Journalism Course (1)
study english (1)
english grammar help (1)
free english grammar (2)
Learn english online (12)
efl (4)
grammar (1)
Vocabulary notebook (8)
Islington Centre for English (6)
Recording vocabulary (3)
Journalism evening course London (1)
study tips (9)
english grammar tips (1)
Events in London (1)
writing a mini-saga (1)
Basic English mistakes (1)
english course london (12)
english school online (1)
silent disco (1)
english as a foreign language (3)
Cycling (1)
Somewhere to visit London (1)
London Marathon (1)
London (5)
Shopping in London (4)
Cambridge Exam Preparation (1)
Insider info London (14)
future tenses english (1)
New vocabulary (4)
Learning tips (10)
defining relative clauses (1)
Victoria park (1)
CAE (3)
the people's tower (1)
Reading in English (1)
spelling (1)
past modals (1)
FCE (4)
Journalism Course London (1)
London Summer (7)
Historic moment (1)
Journalist Course London (1)
New language (7)
Polite questions (1)
Peaceful London (2)
Things to see in London (4)
Christmas in London (3)
music festival London (1)
Vocabulary (11)
future tenses efl (1)
making predictions (1)
english school (2)
Where to visit London (3)
Free english lessons (10)
London markets (4)
Places to see in London (4)
Francais (2)
Barney Ronay (1)

Tag Cloud

Learn english onlinewriting a mini-sagagrammarmusic festival LondonTourist tipsexamsJournalism classes LondonSomewhere to go LondonHistoric momentNew vocabularyEnglishAdjectiveLondon MarathonReading in Englishmini-sagaJournalism Course Londonenglish schoolVictoria parkFunreading tipsenglish school onlineListening in EnglishJournalist Course Londonfree english grammarJournalism MasterclassWinter in Londonenglish grammar tipsInsider info Londonenglish as a foreign languageeflFCEEnglish tipsEnglish grammarstudy tipsmaking predictionspast modalsPolite questionsLearn EnglishpronuciationCovent Gardenenglish reviewILECLearning tipsstudy english onllinemusic festivals ukstudy englishStudentsBusiness EnglishSomewhere to visitlondon eventsLondonImprove your vocabularyNew languageJournalism evening course Londonenglish course londonthings to do londonCyclingVocabulary notebookNew blogTweedCool as a cucumberCambridge Exam Preparationthe shardsagaLondon SummerBeautiful Londonfuture tenses englishenglish grammar helpnarrative voicesilent discodefining relative clausesFree english lessonsthe people's towerPlaces to see in LondonspellingHalloweenPeaceful LondonShopping in LondonThings to do in LondonHello from Allypast modal verbsICEThings to see in LondonSport Journalism CourseIslington Centre for EnglishEvents in LondonAttractions in LondonSomewhere to visit Londonenglish school londonFrancaisIdiomBarney RonayRecording vocabularySocial programmeEnglish foodBasic English mistakesIELTSCAERelaxing LondonField daystudent study tipsgrammar tipsLondon marketsChristmas in LondonWorld Naked Bike Rideenglish study tipsEnglish vocabularyfuture tenses eflwriting a mini sagaenglish grammar onlineenglish courses londonWhere to visit LondonVocabulary