Thursday 25 December 2014

Russian teens left in limbo after school forced to shut

Brian Byrne

Published 06/08/2014 | 02:30

Eden College on Dublins Burgh Quay.
Pic Frank Mc Grath
Eden College on Dublins Burgh Quay. Pic Frank Mc Grath

Fourteen teenagers arrived from Russia to start courses at an English-language school in Ireland – only to discover the premises had been shut down.

The students, who arrived on Saturday, could now lose several thousand of euro in school fees, insurance and accommodation costs, while their immigration status may be in legal limbo.

The BCT Institute, situated in Parnell Square in Dublin, catered for non-EU students who required visas to study and work in Ireland.

It is the sixth such school to close after being suspended from a register maintained by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) in April, after the Government moved to tighten regulations in the sector earlier this year.

This meant the INIS suspended the issuing of visas and residence permissions to non-EEA nationals seeking to enrol at the school, removing BCT’s main stream of revenue.

The Irish Council for International Students (ICOS) said students were informed of the closure yesterday morning. It’s understood up to 60 of its 500 students have yet to complete their courses.

It was also claimed more prospective students had been due to arrive in Ireland in October, and may have already paid some or all of their course fees.

Last month, BCT informed students it was taking a two-week holiday, raising fears that it would not re-open.

A spokesperson from the Irish Council for International Students (ICOS), which represents international students, said it had met with a number of students at the school following the closure yesterday.

They said a former teacher at BCT was “taking care” of the students from Russia and was figuring out what to do next.

The spokesperson said they were encouraging students to allow ICOS to speak on their behalf at a creditors’ meeting with the school’s owner, Castleknock-based HSD Education, on Friday.

Spokespersons from HSD Education, the firm behind the school, and the Department of Justice did not return calls for comment by the Irish Independent last night.

The BCT Institute is the latest English-language school to close after Allied Irish College in Co Cork ceased trading in May.

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