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Exclusive: Hinds could act on overseas teachers

Education secretary talks about Tes' #LetThemTeach campaign to add the whole teaching profession to visa priority list

Damian Hinds

Education secretary talks about Tes' #LetThemTeach campaign to add the whole teaching profession to visa priority list

Damian Hinds has said he could take action to stop non-EU international teachers being turned away from Britain if there was a “significant problem”.

His comments came after a Tes investigation revealed that some international teachers are being forced to quit their jobs and leave the country at short notice because they cannot renew their visas.

In response to its findings, Tes has launched the #LetThemTeach campaign, calling for the Home Office to add the entire teaching profession to the shortage occupation list, which gives higher priority for visas each month.

Asked by Tes whether he would lobby the Home Office to do this, the education secretary said: “If I knew of a significant problem… this would be recruitment from outside the European Union, in a month where the cap [on visa numbers] had been reached, even after the changes affecting NHS clinicians, if there was a problem then obviously that would be something I would wish to address.”

Tes campaign to keep overseas teachers

The campaign’s supporters include teaching unions, the Commons Education Select Committee, the Scottish government, the Association of Colleges and the Chartered College of Teaching.

However, when asked about the issue by Tes, Mr Hinds also sought to downplay the problem, pointing out that some secondary subjects are already on the shortage list, and claiming that changes that would exempt overseas NHS staff from a visa cap would free up places for teachers. He added that EU teacher recruits were not affected by the visa cap.

He said: “We don’t know of a large number of cases where teachers have been recruited from abroad and have not been able to take up their posts because of this system, but there is more give in the system now anyway.”

Please support our campaign and sign the #LetThemTeach petition. If the petition hits 10,000 signatures, the government is obliged to formally respond to it. If it hits 100,000 signatures, the issue will be considered for a debate in Parliament. To sign it, click here. 

Find out more about Tes’ campaign by visiting the #LetThemTeach homepage.

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