Published 25th February 2020
Aah Brexit. The momentous occasion we’ve all been expecting for months and months and months, but now that’s it has finally happened we’re not really sure what it means. The fact of the matter is that no matter how you feel about Brexit, it is done and dusted now so we just need to suck it up and move on. So, how will Brexit affect TEFL teachers?
As it stands (if you’ve been living under a rock and don’t know), the UK left the EU on 31 January 2020. Currently the UK is in a transition period until the end of 2020 and during this time everything remains the same. In other words, if you are working in Germany you may continue to do so and if you are applying for jobs in Italy you could still get a job and be employed until the end of the year. EU students who travel to the UK during this time can also do this as per usual.
English in Europe
First things first, let’s make one thing clear. Ultimately, Brexit is not going to affect the role of English in the EU. English is still going to be the international language of business, as well as a major language of communication within the EU, both between citizens of different EU countries and citizens of the EU and tourists. So the demand for English language learning is not going to suddenly disappear because the English language learners in Europe are still going to want – and need – to learn English.
At the same time, the UK is going to remain a top destination for English language learners. Considering the history of the UK and its reputation as an English language learning destination, it seems unlikely that EU students will be put off studying in the UK because of a visa. This may be because it doesn’t seem as if the visa is going to be a complicated process, or possibly because even with a visa the UK is still an attractive option for EU students. At the same time, there is speculation that Brexit will cause the value of the pound to devalue, which would actually mean the UK would become even more popular with students from non-EU countries.
So in general, then, Brexit is not going to affect the TEFL industry on the whole. Where it will have an effect is on TEFL teachers, both from the UK and the EU.
UK teachers in the EU
Many people were worried that Brexit would mean UK citizens would lose their right to work in the EU. After the transition period UK citizens will still be able to work in the EU but they will need to apply for a working visa, the same as many other nationalities.
If you are already teaching in the EU and have been living there for a few years you can apply for citizenship or residency in that country to ensure you don’t lose your right to work in that country. The process to go through will depend on which country you are in, though it seems likely that you will have to apply for a permit.
If you are thinking of teaching in the EU, but haven’t take any steps to get there yet, don’t give up hope. You can still apply for work as usual until the end of 2020 but after that you will need to apply for a working visa.
EU teachers in the UK
Brexit also means that any EU teachers going to the UK will require a working visa. These UK visas will be awarded on a points-based system. It is still unsure exactly what this process will be like so keep an eye on the news for more information in this regard.
Non-UK teachers in the EU
Historically it has been pretty darn difficult for most nationalities to teach in the EU because it is much easier and more affordable for EFL schools to hire UK teachers, who didn’t need a working visa. With Brexit, the playing field has been levelled as theoretically it will cost the same to sponsor a working visa for a UK citizen or a non-UK citizen. This will effectively make it easier for non-UK teachers to work in the EU (rejoice, South Africans!).
And that, in a nutshell, is Brexit. As we should all know by now when it comes to Brexit, things can change and nothing is guaranteed. This information is given from our trusted sources as of today. We cannot be held responsible for any changes which may come into effect in the future. In order to keep up-to-date with all things Brexit, make sure you follow trusted sources like gov.uk.