Seeking to improve the quality of education, Ireland introduces new student visa rules

Last year, the Irish government started a series of reforms to improve the quality of education, aimed at safety and student satisfaction. Changes were announced after many private colleges closed in Ireland in 2014, displacing more than 3,000 students (mainly from outside the European Economic Area) and raising concerns about “rogue” education providers.

What will change?
1. Visa for English language courses
Student visas will start to be valid for eight months - including six months of lessons and two for holidays - and no longer for one year for non-European students. The good news is visas can be renewed twice and students can remain in Ireland studying English for two years.

2. Work permit
Students are still allowed to work 20 hours weekly during the class period and 40 hours per week during holidays. The difference is that the government have now standardised the holiday periods in which international students can work full-time. This means that students will have permission to work 40 hours per week during the months of May, June, July and August and from 15 December to 15 January. At all other times of the year, students will be permitted to work up to 20 hours per week.

The main focus of the change is to improve the quality of education in Ireland. With new rules, all schools should be included in ILEP (Interim List of Eligible Programmes) - a list of institutions authorized to recruit international students - and possess a Learner Program Protection, that assures students will be relocated to another school without cost or be refunded if their chosen one closes or ends the activities.

Stay tuned: Only institutions accredited by Irish awarding bodies will be authorized to recruit international students. In addition to not being ensured by the protection rules for students, those who choose to study in a school that is not part of ILEP will be under Irish Immigration Service rules. The implementation of updated ILEP, scheduled for October 1, has been postponed for a short period. It should be noted that until the next implementation, the associated reduction (from 12 to 8 months) will be deferred. Eligible students will still be able to obtain a full 12 month permission until the ILEP is in place.

For more information read the full reform package here and visit the website of Irish Government's Immigration!