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Contents - February 2011


Special report
Instant booking
Consumer booking trends in the mainstream travel sector revolutionised with the advent of the Internet, but how have online application systems impacted on the study travel sector? Gillian Evans finds out.


Direction I
Cyprus presses its credentials
With its mild year-round climate and tourism potential, Cyprus is an ideal English language destination and more and more schools are offering programmes in the country. Junior programmes have proved popular but the destination also hopes to develop general programmes. Jane Vernon Smith reports.




Destination
The real Australia
From its famous cities and tourist attractions to its the pristine beaches, vast mountain ranges and wild outback, Australia is a great location for a hugely varied English language learning experience. Gillian Evans takes a look.



Non-compliant

Welcome back Amy – oh yes, and more crazy news for the UK. This is what my return from maternity leave felt like late last year – straight back into a familiar situation that was the UK changing its mind on its immigration policy yet again. Each time a change in policy has been touted, the industry holds its breath, waiting to see if the government really will risk its education export industry for the sake of gaining political mileage.

One of the main shockers now is that the government proposes increasing the English language level requirement for Tier 4 applicants from outside the EU – from B1 to B2 – which will require an applicant “to be able to converse on a wider range of topics, whereas B1 level is more focused on understanding public announcements and instructions”.

This explanation of levels, as described on the Home Office’s own website, speaks for itself: there is no point in anyone interested in learning the English language in its native country applying for a student visa should this rule come into effect. Tony Millns of English UK blasted the suggestion as totally wrong. “Students simply will not need to come here to learn English because they will already be fluent in it,” he said.

The consultation startled the industry, although a subsequent change to Student Visitor Visa rules – allowing SVV holders (distinct to Student Visa holders) to study for up to 11 months, rather than six – brought some cheer, as lower-level students now at least have a (temporary) route into the UK for longer than six months (although no access to part-time work rights or ability to switch visa categories).

Stamping out “non-compliance” is the government’s reasoning behind some of its new proposed rules, according to the consultation (page 7), but Theresa May, UK Home Secretary, has acknowledged a commitment to a pre-election pledge of bringing migrant numbers down to the “tens of thousands”. Non-compliance of visa rules – overstaying, essentially – is a problem in any country, but maintaining a strong entry and exit system is better in solving this, rather than creating barriers that thwart genuine students too and threaten to damage the UK economy.

Non-compliance issues are also better managed by a strict accreditation system linked to visa issuance; one area that the UK government is consulting on (“more rigorous inspections”) that the majority of the industry will endorse. But in terms of other modifications to the visa regime, some suggestions are non-sense.


Opinion
Non-compliant

News
Association schism in the study travel industry
Japanese streamline visas
ELS USA and Canada join forces
Migration cap - another threat to the UK
USA paves way for quality-linked visa issuance
Australia amends points system and sets up emergency fund
Sea English Academy in global expansion

Agency News
ICEF Berlin expands further
QE completes mission to Europe


Agency Survey
Swiss stability
A healthy 2010 for Swiss agencies was reported, with a clientele requesting diverse study destinations.

Feedback
France
While student trends are largely similar to those profiled in last year’s Feedback survey on France, there are a few subtle differences; namely that more students booked via an agency and more found language acquisition easier.

Market Report
German pragmatism
Language schools in Germany have noted a change in nationalities among the students learning German in the country, mainly due to economic and visa factors. Jane Vernon Smith reports.

Courseguide
Summer vacation in the USA
The months of June, July and August are the peak season for language providers in the northern hemisphere, with thousands of junior and teenage language learners in search of a summer vacation programme that manages to balance language tuition with fun activity programming. Here, we provide a guide to options available in the USA.

Spotlight
40+ courses in the UK
As middle age increasingly means more leisure time to travel overseas, the market for English language programmes dedicated to the older learner is growing. Language schools in the UK relate some of their experiences in dealing with this sector of the market.

Status
South Africa 2009



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