British visitor visas abolished for Colombians


The UK Ambassador to Colombia announced the news by Twitter October 18.

“It’s obviously great news that Colombian students can come to the UK to learn English and experience all we have to offer much more easily,” said Annie Wright, Marketing Communications Director at English UK. . News from the PIE.

“Colombia in particular has been an important market for many of our members,” she continued.

In his tweet, British Ambassador to Colombia George Hodgson said: “The UK is waiting for you”.

A document shared on LinkedIn by Marco Magalhaes, associate director of sales and business development at New College Group, said the British Embassy in Bogotá was “delighted to share” the news.

“In proceedings before the UK Parliament on Tuesday 18 October 2022, the decision to scrap visitor visas was approved after a thorough and rigorous assessment process by various UK government institutions with whom we have worked for a long time,” indicates the document. bed.

Magalhaes himself told The PIE that an increase in registrations from Colombia could even be seen “in the next three months”.

“We saw great excitement after the announcement was published by local news. The UK will again be a strong market for Colombia,” he said.

“The UK is likely to return to its popularity and status as a chosen destination, so we will have more Colombians in our UK school. The fact that other destinations are taking longer than expected to issue visas to language students means that the UK will also become a competitive and stronger market among agents in Colombia, due to its facilities, large quality of its educators and the variety of its excellent locations in the UK,” Magalhaes explained.

“The UK will once again be a strong market for Colombia”

The document also states that Guyana and Peru will also benefit from the decision, with their visitor visas also being waived.

“This is a great opportunity for UK institutions to get a piece of the market,” Veronica Bustamante, director of Grasshopper, told The PIE.

“I also think it will be good for professionals looking for short executive programs, and summer programs in the UK will increase a lot and possibly affect summer programs in the US and Canada” , she predicted.

“With this announcement, the UK will become more accessible to Colombians who wish to discover and enjoy its rich culture, long history and beautiful landscapes. And in addition to tourism, the country will open its doors to new business opportunities in countless sectors,” the document continues.

These opportunities for the ELT sector could be extremely fruitful, as detailed by Magalhaes, but could take longer than expected, according to Farhan Quraishi, CEO of SpeakUp London.

“The news was welcomed by ETOs and students, however, given that the peso is still not at pre-pandemic levels, the feeling is that little will change in the near future in the number of student bookings,” he said.

“Of course we will see an eventual increase in the number of visitors to the UK with less red tape and a significant saving on application fees and other associated costs for short courses.

“Colombia nationals visiting friends, family and tourism will most certainly result in increased bookings, but only marginally,” Quraishi added.

It was announced in June that 2021 had been an encouraging year for Colombians wanting ELT, having contributed 1,832 students in 2021, and was called a “booming market for English training” by the director of EnglishUSA, Cheryl Delk-Le-Good.

In Canada, Colombia is also among the top 10 source countries for ELTs, according to agencies surveyed in a study conducted for Languages ​​Canada by BONARD.

Australia, however, lost some of its share of the Latin American ELT market to Canada, which may have contributed to Canada’s encouraging performance. But, with the UK now easier to visit, some predict Colombians may change their minds about destination countries.

“It’s a positive step to show the UK as an open and welcome destination”

“According to ETOs and students, the main pull factor for other study destinations in the UK remains the opportunity to work part-time while studying. It is a positive step to show the UK as an open and welcome destination; However, the fact remains that other destinations such as Ireland or Canada will always have a competitive advantage until work rights are cleared,” Quraishi concluded.

The document goes on to say that Colombians who have already applied for a visitor visa to enter the UK but who have not yet provided biometric data, such as fingerprints, can now withdraw their application and request reimbursement of the visa fees by visiting the government website. .

He also points out that the requirements for working, studying (university programmes) and settling in the UK are still in force.

“This announcement marks an important milestone in UK-Colombia relations. We hope to see an increase in the number of Colombian visitors to the UK in due course. See you soon!” concludes the document.


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