Relief for UK Language Schools

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The High Court in England has found in favour of the organization English UK, which represents 440 UK based English language schools, in a case it brought against the Home Office concerning recent changes to immigration rules.

In an attempt to clamp down on illegal immigration, and in the wake of the arrests of terrorist suspects who were found to be in the country as students, the Home Office tightened guidelines for the issue of student visas. In particular they required that all foreign students entering the UK to study have a GCSE or equivalent in the language.

This caused consternation amongst business owners of private schools which specialise in teaching English to foreign learners as it effectively barred many of their clients from getting student visas and thus being able to enroll n English language courses. Why come to England to study English if you already speak it to a good level? At an estimated GBP1.5 billion contribution to the UK economy each year, the new regime threatened to have quite an impact.

As far as Hong Kong students are concerned it could have had implications for attending a variety of useful and stimulating courses such as language-oriented summer camps, or made it difficult for them to get into high school so they could………..yes, improve their English and get an English education.

But the judge found that rather than change the guidelines, the Home Office should have asked Parliament to properly debate the issue and write it into the law itself. The government will now have to review the student visa system again and hopefully produce a set of rules that are based in common sense and actually workable.

By Danny Harrington

Co-founder of ITS Tutorial School




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