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Where can British people teach English abroad after Brexit?

Updated: Jan 20


Where can British people teach English abroad after Brexit?
So many places to see!

Until Brexit, European countries like Spain and Italy were among the most popular options for teaching abroad for British citizens after they finished their CELTA courses. The situation has changed now, and British people can no longer teach in the EU without getting a working visa. That said, a working life abroad is still possible for Britons after they complete a CELTA course, either online or face-to-face.


Opportunities in Europe

There are still teaching opportunities in Europe. From reviewing ads on popular websites like TEFL.com, it's true that most say that they will only hire EU citizens. However, occasional ads do state that they will consider applying for a working visa for the right candidate. If you're interested in working on short term contracts, companies like English in Action will hire British citizens on UK contracts and send them on short-term teaching projects around Europe for two or three weeks.


There are also specialist teaching contracts available in Europe. For example, if you have a background in aviation or in the military, then you may find a school willing to sponsor a visa for you so you could teach aviation or military English. Similarly, once you have some more experience and if you're applying for a senior teaching or academic management job, schools are much more likely to sponsor your visa.


Beyond Europe - the world is your oyster!

Brexit may have changed the relationship between Britain and Europe, but Britain's relationship with the rest of the world. There aren't as many teaching opportunities in China as there once were because of a change in regulations there, but beyond that, the same prospects that were always available still are. The three biggest areas to consider are:

  • The Middle East: English is big business in countries like Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman and Qatar. The market is competitive in popular cities like Dubai, but there is a wide variety of jobs available to British citizens who hold a qualification like CELTA, including teaching English in companies, in the military, in universities and in schools, both within mainstream education and in the private language school sector. Most employers in this region will sponsor visas for teachers who are successful in job applications.

  • Latin America: There is a long tradition of people teaching English to support themselves on gap years and while they backpack around central and south America. Many people will do short-term teaching jobs while on a tourist visa, but if you are interested in longer term work, schools will help with visa applications.

  • East Asia: There is a huge market for English teachers in Taiwan, Thailand, South Korea, Vietnam and Japan, to name but a few. There is a long tradition of British citizens teaching English in these countries and schools in these countries usually support their teachers in visa applications (as well as with accommodation and sometimes even with travel).

The English-speaking world

Many students travel to the UK and to other English-speaking countries to study English. This means that British citizens don't only do a CELTA because they want to teach abroad. There are jobs in the UK to be had as well. At peak times, especially in summer, hundreds of teaching positions are available in UK language schools. Ireland also has well over a hundred English language schools and UK citizens don't need a visa to live and work there. Australia, New Zealand and Canada all also have booming English teaching industries and, while these countries all have differing visa regimes, many UK citizens teach in Australia on a working holiday visa.


Overall, while Brexit has changed the prospects open to British citizens, it hasn't diminished the value that a CELTA qualification offers to people in the UK wishing to pursue a career in teaching English as a foreign language.



Dr Connor O'Donoghue hails from Ireland and he started teaching English as a foreign language in Poland in 2003 and he became a CELTA trainer in 2008. He has taught and trained in Ireland, the UK, France, Italy, Slovenia, Macedonia, Poland, Russia, Kazakhstan and Vietnam. Connor also holds a Masters and a PhD in Education from Trinity College in Dublin. He has previously managed large teacher training centres in Vietnam and in London before founding DC Teacher Training.

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