How Brexit is affecting the English Language

July 12, 2017

Brexit has caused a massive uproar in both the UK and the EU, and its effects can be felt in a wide range of industries as UK citizens and foreign powers all ask the same question… what happens next? The consequences are now becoming clear, and they’re affecting everything from NHS doctors to exchange students studying in the UK.

What is the media saying?

With concern for the future of the United Kingdom at an all-time high, we have seen a range of articles regarding the English Language and Brexit. The reaction of the public to recent events has made it clearer than ever that Brexit is already affecting the views and actions of people living both in the UK and outside its borders.

For example, statistics uncovered by the Get Britain Out group show that “…between 2012 and 2016, 63 disciplinary cases were opened against doctors for ‘inadequate knowledge of English language’… 46 of those 63 cases involved doctors who were EU nationals.” Figures such as these have appeared in relation to Brexit, when the organisation requested them as part of Freedom of Information. The prime suspect for these startling figures comes from the EU’s freedom of movement, which grants an EU doctor the ability to easily move and live in a member country. This often results in less rigorous testing and easier access to a job than, for example, a doctor from China.

Experts are also claiming that it is more important than ever for monolingual UK citizens to consider learning another language. An article from The Guardian refers to a comment by Jean Claude Juncker, the European Commission President. He goes as far as to state that “slowly but surely English is losing importance in Europe,” before switching to French. This has serious implications for the continuing monopoly of the English language for communication within the EU, meaning that we might have to start actively pursuing other languages in order to maintain business relations.

Learning the English Language in the UK

According the English UK Student Statistics Report, 2015 saw over 535,000 people learn the English Language in the UK, and over 60% of these were EU citizens. With the deadline for leaving the European Union quickly approaching, this could have massive consequences on the quantities of students and their ease of access to the UK post 2017/18.

For example, the EU offers funding for many British universities, as well as exchange programmes which benefit huge amounts both native and foreign students. It makes working in the UK simple for the best foreign educatory professionals, enabling them to live, research and teach in the United Kingdom whilst improving the quality of our universities and education systems.

However, the outcomes might not all be bad, as studies show that an overwhelming majority of UK citizens welcome exchange students. A poll carried out by Universities UK found that 75% of those with a view said “they would like the same number, or more, international students in the UK.” It also found that 81% of participants with a view believe that “international students have a positive impact on local economies and towns in which they study.” Given the substantial benefits these students provide to the UK economy (over £10 billion) this topic is likely to be an important consideration to the government during its negotiations.

Contact Us

For more information on studying in the UK, please don’t hesitate to contact the friendly team at English Study Breaks. We’re happy to provide you with the necessary information regarding visas, your support network within the UK and the best places to stay.