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A new Joint Education Taskforce

11 June 2012

The Joint Education Taskforce (JET) was convened by the Home Office to provide a forum for discussing immigration issues with the education sector. Since 2005 it has played a key role in helping to shape Government policy around international students and the visa system, in particular the development and implementation of Tier 4, and has remained the formal channel of communication between UKBA and the sector through its subsequent changes. Unfortunately as time went on JET lost much of its effectiveness as a policy and logistical discussion forum due mainly to its increasingly large and disparate membership, reaching by 2011 some 50 members and 30 separate organisations.

Following a comprehensive internal review of its objectives and membership, JET has now been radically restructured into a core group of just half a dozen members representing education providers, joined by key Government officials from the Home Office and other relevant departments. This will allow it to regain its focus on enabling full and frank discussion of the key issues for the sector and hopefully become once more a vehicle for shaping future policy on education and immigration.

We are delighted to confirm that Study UK is a member of the new core JET group, and the sole representatives of the independent tertiary education sector. Our sub-group meetings will be the main forums for individual Study UK members to make their board representative aware of what issues are most important to them. These issues will be discussed at Study UK board meetings, and key issues which need to be addressed by the Home Office can then be added to the agenda at the next JET meeting. In this way we hope to represent effectively to Government the interests of independent institutions of all types, covering HE, FE, sixth form, specialist, study abroad and university pathway providers. Study UK will be joined on the core JET group by the other key representative bodies (English UK, Universities UK, Guild HE and the UK Council of Colleges), as well as UKCISA and the British Council. 

Most of JET's regular business will be conducted by the core group, while a wider stakeholder group will remain in operation for communications and annual meetings. We look forward to working closely with our sector partners and the Government in contributing to the development of future policy and ensuring that the immigration system works effectively both for the benefit of UK education and for the country as a whole.

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