Visa problems for incoming language assistants

News summary

Evidence is accumulating of difficulties in obtaining visas for Language Assistants under the new visa Points Based System, especially in less widely taught languages.

The problems seem to include: (a) a low salary level which falls below or at the bottom of the Tier 2 visas threshold; (b) the need in some cases for a restricted certificate of sponsorship, (c) the need for working hours of more than 30 hours a week, and (d) the need to satisfy the Labour Market test by advertising the role first (which is inappropriate where UK universities have long-term links and arrangements with particular partner organisations abroad).

The British Academy is concerned that new immigration restrictions may have a direct impact on language learning and teaching in this country, and would like to gather more information on the scale of the problem, with a view to raising this issue with government as being damaging. Before doing so, they should like to have a better sense of the scale of the problem across the country. We should therefore be very grateful if you could email with examples of problems, and the particular reasons for the difficulty.

At present, evidence is being collected by the British Academy (

UCML may also seek to have a Parliamentary question asked on the topic, so please copy any responses to UCML (