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British Government's new rules affect the UK EFL market

These new rules have an impact on the UK EFL market and the private sector because they affect prospective young adult students from outside the EU. It would be imposible for such students to learn English in the UK for more than six months or any course below upper intermediate level, or studying any subject other than English at below the level of a first year degree. Taking into account that the majority of students coming from outside the EU arrive in the UK with a level below B1, it is clear that they will be the injured party.

Defending these measures, the Ministry of the Interior, Mr Alan Johnson stated that the purpose was "to tackle the abuse... by economic migrants whilst at the same time continuing to safeguard the ability of genuine international students to come to the UK.


The UK Border Agency has announced that, from 1 February 2010, it is not accepting any new applications under the Tier 4 student route of the points-based system at the following visa application centres:

  • North India - New Delhi, Jalandhar and Chandigarh
  • Bangladesh - Dhaka, Sylhet and Chittagong
  • Nepal - Kathmandu

The head of the points-based system at the UK Border Agency, Jeremy Oppenheim, said:

'The points-based system gives us the flexibility to act to maintain the integrity of the visa system, while processing legitimate applications fairly, thoroughly and as quickly as possible.

'We continually check and monitor all student applications and education providers to ensure that they meet the required standards set by the points-based system. As a result of this routine monitoring and an increase in applications, we have temporarily stopped accepting new applications from North India, Nepal and Bangladesh while we carry out an investigation to ensure they are all genuine.

'We will take tough action against those who attempt to abuse the system.'

To sum up, private language schools could lose 15 to 25 % of their students as a consequence of these changes.