Teachers of English as a foreign language are welcoming changes to the immigration rules announced by the UK's immigration minister last month. On 6th September 2013, Mark Harper issued a statement outlining a range of changes to the rules among which was a new provision allowing people in the UK on visitor visas to carry out short courses of study.
As of 1st October 2013, visitors to the UK on business, family or general visitor visas have been allowed to attend short English language courses lasting up to 30 days.
English language schools and teachers in the UK have told educational magazine The Pie that this is likely to result in a considerable increase in business because, until now, they have had to turn away people with visitor visas who ask to join courses.
Tutors having to turn away up to 70% of applicantsThe Pie reports that English tutors report that they have had to turn away between 10 and 70% of people applying to join courses because of their immigration status. The magazine reports that a school in Oxford claims to have had to turn away 150 people over a six-month period.
One anonymous tutor said 'If we estimate that the 50 people [we turned away] would have spent £2,000 each, then it's £100,000. Our executive centre had to turn down one single booking of £12,000'.
Industry body English UK says that the change could be 'very significant' for English tutors. The chief executive, Tony Millns, said 'Financially, [the changes] are very significant because if you have seven students in a class, the marginal cost of one more is very marginal indeed but the fees go straight to the bottom line'.
Schools and universities will benefit from new rulesBusiness schools and universities which offer short courses to business clients should also benefit from the changes.
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