Ireland announces major student immigration reform

The Irish government has launched a major reform of student immigration and the international education sector this week to tackle abuse of the immigration system in Ireland.

The Irish government has launched a major reform of student immigration and the international education sector this week to tackle abuse of the immigration system in Ireland.Minister Jan O’Sullivan and Minister Frances Fitzgerald have announced major reforms of the international education sector in Ireland in response to issues raised by the closure of a number of private sector colleges this year.The Irish government says that the reforms are necessary to, “protect the consumer and educational interests of genuine international students, to tackle abuse of the labour market and the immigration regime, and to safeguard the strong international reputation of high-quality Irish education providers.”The two Ministers also published the final report of the Task Force established to help students affected by the college closures. Alternative educational accommodation has been put in place for affected students.The Task Force report noted that, despite strengthened rules in place, there continues to be abuse of student immigration by a number of low quality providers.  The new rules will take effect from 1st January 2015 and are set out in a Policy Statement.“Thousands of high-calibre students from around the world come to Ireland to study in our universities, institutes of technology, private colleges and English language schools,” said Minister O’Sullivan. “These students make a significant contribution to campuses and communities across the country. We cannot let our international reputation be damaged by low-quality provision or rogue operators. These reforms are crucial to ensuring that only those providers which can offer the highest standards can attract international students”.Only programmes which are accredited by Irish awarding bodies in the English language and higher education sectors will be permitted to recruit international students, with a few specific exceptions. Institutions will be required to have a track record of educational quality and immigration compliance.An enhanced inspection and compliance regime will be introduced to monitor educational quality and immigration compliance.Changes will be made to the operation of the work concession, which allows non-EEA students to work. The working year for the concession will be standardised to clamp down on abuse and to make the situation clearer for students and employers alike.Minister O’Sullivan urged all affected students to make sure that they satisfy the immigration requirements, “If you have not already enrolled on an appropriate education programme,” she said, “it is vital that you do so immediately. The student task force website provides detailed guidance for students who still require an alternative education option.”http://www.studenttaskforce.ie/

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