Teaching English in Europe after Brexit


It’s been four years in the making, but Brexit has finally happened, meaning Britain has left the EU. If you are a UK citizen hoping to teach English in Europe, you’re bound to have lots of questions so we’re here to break down what the new changes mean for you. 

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I am British - can I still study TEFL in Europe?

Yes! Although Britain is no longer an EU member state, UK citizens can visit EU countries as tourists for up to 90 days at a time within a 180 day period. This means you have time to complete a full 160 hour TEFL course in person without a visa, as long as you don’t plan to find paid work during your stay. Do bear in mind though that once your 90 days is up, you will not be able to reenter the Schengen area as a tourist for another 3 months. 

What if I want to teach English in Europe after my TEFL course?

Getting a job in the EU as a Brit is now undoubtedly more complicated, but there are still ways to make it work. 

All European countries now require UK citizens to obtain a visa in order to gain paid employment and stay in the country long term, though the process may vary slightly from country to country. 

The main obstacle to obtaining a work visa is that employers must show that the post could not be filled by someone already in the country and this can be both difficult and time consuming to do. It remains to be seen how keen language schools will be to take on this bureaucracy in order to employ British teachers, but it could well mean a shift towards a preference for non-native teachers who have the right to work within the EU. 

A far easier option for English teachers from the UK is to apply for a student visa. In many countries, such as here in Spain, a student visa allows for up to 20 hours work as a paid intern. We expect to see many language schools taking up this option instead, especially given that the average timetable of an English teacher rarely adds up to more than 20 hours of class per week. 

Of course, you must be signed up to a programme of study to obtain a student visa, so you may wish to have lessons in the local language or take part in a career development course such as TEFL Iberia’s Developing Teacher programme. 

At TEFL Iberia we have years of experience helping students navigate the visa process, so get in touch if you would like more support with this or check out this blog post for a step by step guide to applying for a student visa in Spain. 

What’s the bottom line?

All is not lost for Brits who want to escape the Brexit blues. Britain may have left the EU but Europe still remains a viable option for those who want to grab the opportunity. Whether it’s a short term trip to gain your qualification or a longer stint to try out life in another country, don’t let Brexit stop you from chasing your dream!

If you’re thinking about moving to Spain to teach English and would like more guidance through the visa process, please contact us at coordination@tefl-iberia.com

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