UCML welcomes the new British Academy briefing on Visas for Language Assistants. The aim of this briefing is to clarify the situation regarding the employment of language assistants and lectors in UK higher education in the light of current, post-Brexit visa regulations.
Language assistant and lector posts are a critical aspect of the teaching of modern languages in higher education. As native speakers, these language specialists are uniquely qualified to provide students with high-level language training, as well as deepening students’ understanding of the countries in which the language is spoken. Those holding these posts come directly from a country in which the relevant language is spoken. Their knowledge of the language and relevant socio-cultural context is therefore very much up to the minute and provides valuable, contemporary insight (often not provided by permanent, UK-resident employees, regardless of their ‘mother tongue’).
Moreover, language assistant posts in higher education that are part of an arrangement with an overseas institution are critical in enabling languages students from UK higher education institutions to gain valuable study and work experience at higher education institutions abroad, because the arrangement is conditional upon reciprocity or other types of exchange.
The briefing provides insights and guidance on the following two routes:
- Temporary Worker (formerly Tier 5) Government Authorised Exchange Worker (GAE) route – relevant to language assistants
- Skilled Worker (formerly Tier 2) route – lectors
The briefing is available here and will be of interest to departments teaching languages and related disciplines.