|English UK tracks large fall in suspect language schools
The number of non-accredited private English language colleges in the UK that may be actively recruiting students in breach of immigration rules has dramatically fallen, according to research by English UK, the language school association.
English UK has been tracking non-accredited schools since creating a database of 560 institutions in 2002. Of these, only six per cent are still giving cause for concern. Forty five per cent are no longer operating as English language schools, 27 per cent are recruiting solely from inside the EU, and 22 per cent have achieved accreditation status through one of the recognised accreditation bodies.
Tony Millns, Chief Executive of English UK, said in a letter to the Immigration Minister, Damian Green, “We believe this [research] shows that the changes introduced up to the start of the year were having, and continue to have, an extremely beneficial effect.” Millns added that the success in sorting out the non-accredited sector would have far more impact in reducing abuse of student visas than more recent initiatives.
English UK identified just 33 of the original 560 as still potentially breaking student visa regulations by conducting a mystery shopper exercise, where the schools appeared to agree they could accept an adult Russian student on a short course, despite not being accredited to accept visa students. “This could potentially be error or lack of understanding of the student visa system on the part of the person we spoke to, but we obviously have no power to investigate that further,” said Millns.
At the time of writing, we were awaiting confirmation from English UK about how many non-accredited language schools may have opened since the original database was created.