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How does Brexit impact TEFL or TESOL teachers?

Updated: May 11, 2022

With Brexit arriving, you may be wondering how it affects your plans to teach English as a foreign language or your ability to teach abroad. Here are some impacts Brexit may have on TEFL and TESOL teachers.

1. Brexit impact on the state of the field of EFL/ESOL

One fallout from Brexit, that does not make the front pages of newspapers, is how does Brexit impact on the state of the field of EFL/ESOL? Well, at the moment, no one really knows. At the time of writing this blog, Britain has “left,” but not actually “left” as there is an agreement in place until the end of 2020.

Currently any aspiring English language teacher can take a UK-based certificate and move across the EU to apply for work. Likewise, it is possible for an EU national to have a relevant EFL certificate and can apply to work in the UK. Indeed, many do. It’s quite common for schools to hire teachers from across Europe to work in their summer camp programs. For them it is appealing as they get to practice their English, travel around the UK and get paid for it! Wins all round! Though, this may change next year!

'How does Brexit influence TEFL and TESOL teachers?' is written in black text in front of an image of a Union Flag and a European Union flag being torn apart from each other.

2. Working in the UK

So, what do we know about what will happen next year? The concept of freedom of movement WILL end, with a new points-based system being introduced to take its place. This new system will see visa applicants being treated equally from around the world. All applicants will need to reach a target of 70 points if they wish to apply.

Now, how will that impact on the field of EFL/ESOL? Well, lets take a look. You get 20 points for a valid job offer, which most teachers do when moving country, another 20 points for the job being at an appropriate skill level, which again, most teachers will be applying for and another 10 points for having an appropriate level of English. So, that’s 50 of the 70 already!

So, for teachers outside the EU looking to work in the UK as an ESOL teacher, it may mean that the process actually becomes slightly easier, and for people from the EU looking to work in the UK, it may look, on the surface, that it is going to be a lot harder. However, I would argue that whilst it will be trickier, if you step back a little, as qualified teachers, you are already most of the way to earning a UK visa without specifically trying!

3. Working in the EU

OK. How about for UK nationals looking to work in Europe? Again, there is no certainty here because the EU has not unveiled what system it, or its member states will put in place. To be honest, we can’t see it being too dissimilar to what the UK will put in place. It will be different to the UK, but we doubt it will be significantly harder to work through than the UK equivalent.

So, yes, UK nationals may well need a visa to work in the EU. However, UK nationals have already needed visas to work in many countries round the world. Many Brits have moved to places such as India, China and Japan to work as teachers, and have needed visas, and not let it stop them!

Working beyond Europe

However, whilst this may seem tough, there is one thing on our side. If you look around the world at the field of EFL, then the big names are Trinity and the University of Cambridge with regards teacher training. Trinity offers its CertTESOL and DipTESOL, with Cambridge offering its CELTA and DELTA programmes. These are the heavyweights. British education does carry a certain cachet which can open doors, and if you come from the UK, then you can employ the one killer line, “I AM English!”

However, you need to be prepared to pay for a CELTA, as they aren’t cheap! It is possible to get a certificate of similar stature, without paying such high fees. For example, Notting Hill College runs a Level 6 TESOL course (RQF), backed by Ofqual.

Courses such as this actually are higher than either the CELTA, or CertTESOL academically, and slotting in just beneath the DELTA and DipTESOL, which are broadly equivalent to studying a master's course. You can also take these courses online from home!

Britain is lucky to have such an excellent reputation when it comes to education, that by taking courses such as these does help boost your application wherever you go in the world. And of course, once you have finished on the L6 TESOL course and are hungry for more, courses such as Notting Hill College's Level 6 TESOL can be topped up to a full master's at a later date!


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