UK language industry – CIOL concerned for the future of EU nationals in the UK following Brexit

As the House of Lords prepares for the second reading of the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill on 20 February, the Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) urgently appeals to the Prime Minister to clarify the uncertain status of the 3.3 million EU citizens who live and work in the UK.

The government has declared it “would like to offer the 3 million EU citizens settled in the UK before the referendum the right to remain” (The Guardian, 16/1/17). The Prime Minister and her representatives will be undertaking delicate negotiations to secure the reciprocal rights of the 1.2 million British people currently resident in the EU countries.

The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) is anxious on behalf of their members that this crucial issue will be resolved at the earliest possible opportunity.

The UK’s language industry is heavily dependent on mother-tongue linguists, many of whom are EU nationals living and working in the UK, and it is both personally distressing and professionally destabilising for them to live with the prolonged uncertainty of their residency and status.

Currently around 85% of modern foreign language teaching assistants in UK schools, and one third of public service interpreters, are EU nationals, with many EU linguists also having established language service companies, which make a significant contribution to the UK’s £1 billion language industry. (UK Language Services Market Report 2015, ATC).

CIOL Chief Executive Ann Carlisle said: “We urge the Prime Minister to take immediate action, in line with the recommendations of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages, to guarantee the residency status of EU nationals already living in the UK and safeguard the future recruitment of EU citizens.

“The government must recognise that professional linguists based in the UK, regardless of their nationality, are going to be crucial professionals alongside EU trade negotiators and lawyers in the government’s objectives of realising a successful post-Brexit global economy.”

We would welcome decisive action from our Prime Minister in securing urgently an agreement on the rights of EU citizens living in the UK.

Notes to editors:

Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) is the foremost international membership organisation for all language professionals. It offers a membership pathway that leads to Chartership for translators and interpreters, as well as language teachers, university lecturers and linguists who use their extensive professionalism and expertise in a wide variety of roles in the global economy.

More information from

Relevant links: APPG on Modern Languages Brexit & Languages policy document

CIOL Vice-President Baroness Coussins' speech in Baroness Hayter's debate on UK Withdrawal from the EU and Potential Withdrawal from the Single Market on 26 January 2017:

Video (Parliament TV):

Further information:
Deborah Butler
Communications Manager
+44 (0)20 7940 3105