Open For Non EU Passport Holders Again?

To say that 2016 has been interesting year would be an understatement.  It all began last year around June when the UK voted to leave the European Union and then it got really exciting on November 8 when Donald Trump became the 45th president elect of the United States. I say interesting because I have a friend who recruits college graduates to teach English overseas and in November alone he recruited 80 candidates; a very good month indeed.  Such were the new candidates so enlightened with Mr. Trump’s victory that they were already packing their bags before he had even entered office.  While changes to the political landscape may seem trivial to those who enjoy the lifestyle and rewards associated with teaching English abroad, think again. Very often, government policy can have lasting effects for ESL teachers seeking work in other countries.

A case in point is in 2002 I decide to visit a friend in France. We had met in Asia while teaching at neighboring public schools two years prior. During my visit, I was asked on several occasions if I would like to stay and teach English.  At the time, I didn’t really consider it as I was already content with my life and work situation back in Asia. In early 2004, I returned to Europe to complete my CELTA in Budapest. Again, I was told that there were opportunities for teaching there post-CELTA, but decided to decline because salaries elsewhere were far more competitive. It was a trade off because I really enjoyed the lifestyle I had adopted while living there.  

I have often considered making a return to Europe but have found that the door to work there is not so easily opened any longer. That’s because following my departure, Europe became tighter within the union.  Three years earlier the Euro dollar was adopted by most members, except Britain, Hungary and other eastern European countries were applying for membership and most member countries reserved ESL positions for EU citizens. Still today looking at Facebook pages I find “Must be EU citizen” listed in qualifications for most the positions available in Europe.

While many situations see, countries tightening their policies regarding foreign workers, as we have recently witnessed in the United States, many times it is the opposite.  Often newly elected administrations will make it easier for non-citizens to remain or change their visa status without having to leave depending on the situation. Once it was the norm for ESL teacher to have to do “visa runs” when their contracts expired.  This is no longer the case as many countries in need of such people have discovered it’s easier and less costly for employers to simply have teachers redo their visas in country.  It also comes down to how important a country believes a service or product is to its future growth. Such is the case with both China and the Middle East where the need for English has expanded rapidly and governments try to implement different education policy to meet their future needs.

As for Europe, the next few years are going to be interesting indeed considering its English-speaking citizenship will rapidly decline when Brexit is finalized. Presently one can only guess how countries there will react to the changing situation.  It’s very possible that they will do nothing and schools will simply have to fight it out over a dwindling supply of teachers raising opportunities and education costs. Then again, they might very well open the doors for ESL teachers from all English-speaking countries once again making Europe a place to teach English and travel. Hopefully, they choose the latter so I can consider the possibility of returning one day soon. 

Published: Thursday, February 16, 2017 2:13 AM by eslpanda
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