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Could Brexit help with the teacher recruitment crisis?

  • Publish Date: Posted over 3 years ago
  • Author: Matt Brown
We are still very much in the midst of ‘the teacher recruitment crisis, and the news that the UK leaving the EU could create another obstacle to recruiting teaching staff has certainly not been welcome. Undoubtedly there will be an effect in the number of teachers and support staff able to play a part in the UK education system coming from EU countries, however, while the change in legislation means recruiting from the EU becomes more difficult, recruiting from further afield has become as simpler a process as it has been in decades.

Can I only recruit Maths, Science, Computer Science, and other subjects on the ‘Shortage Occupation list’ from overseas?

No, is the short answer. While schools have always been able to recruit teachers, which are not on the shortage occupation list (all Primary teachers and the vast majority of subjects in Secondary) there were plenty of hoops to jump through. While of course not referring to the immigration policy, or those involved, like a circus, many of those hoops have been removed. Including the largest, the ‘Resident Labour Market Test’.

What has changed?

The ‘Resident Labour Market Test’ was abolished on January 1st, 2021, and the pathway to recruiting teachers of Primary, English, Geography, MFL, Biology, Chemistry, to name just a few, has become infinitely easier. In the past, a role would have to be advertised for a minimum of 28 days across two very specific websites. They must be very exact in how they were written and would be looked at very closely when it came to issuing sponsorship.

Now, Qualified teachers who are fluent in English, regardless of their subject or if it is Primary or Secondary, will reach the required criteria to apply for a Skilled Migrant Visa once they have been offered a role by a school that can issue sponsorship.

At iCan Teach UK, the vast majority of teachers we recruit are from English speaking countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Jamaica and the USA, meaning that our teachers will meet the criteria to apply.

The criteria from is outlined below.


What does this mean for the applicant?

Shortage Occupation list still very much exists, but now only really has an effect from the applicant’s point of view. The cost for the visa application is £610 per year for those ‘Non-Shortage Occupations’ while it is £464 for those applying for a role on the list.

In more positive news, another significant change has come from the applicant’s point of view. A stumbling block which we would see causing issues year in, year out, was the fact that the applicant would need to have money to support themselves and would have to be able to provide bank statements to show that they have had this for 3 months. This has now been reduced to the much more reasonable 28 days, again opening this up to many more applicants.

What does this mean for my school?

In its simplest form, what this means is that recruiting Primary teachers and across all Secondary Subjects, is exactly the same for a school as if they were recruiting teachers of Maths and Science. You will still need to be able to issue sponsorship (if you, your MAT or Local Authority don’t have a licence then –find out more here– about applying).

Speaking to Matt Brown, Co-Founder at iCan Teach UK, a specialist recruiter of Overseas trained teachers to the UK, he told us ‘this fantastic news for those schools who find it hard year on year to find the high quality of teaching staff they need for their schools. The changes in legislation mean that schools can look overseas for highly qualified and experienced candidates in those subjects of settings which were very difficult to do so in the past.’

Already this year iCan Teach UK have worked closely with one Essex based trust in recruiting 10 teachers from Jamaica, with the majority of those coming with 5+ years’ experience and across subjects including Maths, Science, English Geography and DT.

For schools looking for advice on the process, we would recommend speaking to People Force, especially if this is the first time you are doing it.

If you are interested in recruiting from overseas, then iCan Teach UK can help with the entire process. With fantastic connections throughout a number of countries and expert knowledge in the entire process, iCan Teach UK are one of the leading specialist recruiters in this field.

Contact the team on 020 8004 3210 or today