The UK is to introduce more flexibility into the visitor visa route by removing the short-term study visa and allowing study on programs up to six months on a visitor visa, while English UK is calling on the government to adopt measures to support the sector as it estimates an 80 per cent loss of student weeks due to Covid-19.
The short-term study visa route will close at the end of the year and students looking to study in the UK for six months or less can enter on a standard visitor visa.
Visitors will be able to take as many courses as they wish within the six-month period, and all English language programs must be studied at an accredited institution. The extended short-term study visa system for ELT courses between six and 11 months will remain.
Non-visa nationals, which will include EU nationals from next year, will be able to use airport e-gates to enter the UK.
English UK is calling for a number of immigration reforms and concessions to support ELT, including the continued used of ID cards for under 18 group travel from the EU and the restoration of part-time work rights of up to 20 hours per week for adult students at accredited providers, a concession that it said would bring the UK in line with international competitors such as Ireland, Malta, Australia and New Zealand.
English UK represents around 400 accredited language providers in the public and private sectors and is a member of the Global Alliance of Education and Language Associations (Gaela). PRODIREKT Education Group and the Verbalists Language Network have been authorized Partner Agencies of English UK since 2011.