Thursday 21 September 2017

No refund for tearful students after fourth school shuts its doors

From left to right, are English language students, Kenelma Perez, 24, Henrique Gurgel, 27, and Vitor Aquino at the front door of Millennium College on Dominick St, it has been announced that the college is to close with immediate effect. Picture: Damien Eagers
From left to right, are English language students, Kenelma Perez, 24, Henrique Gurgel, 27, and Vitor Aquino at the front door of Millennium College on Dominick St, it has been announced that the college is to close with immediate effect. Picture: Damien Eagers
A notice on the door of Millennium College on Dominick St, telling students the college is to close with immediate effect. Picture: Damien Eagers
Students at the front door of Millennium College on Dominick St, it has been announced that the college is to close with immediate effect. Picture: Damien Eagers
Students, from left to right, Aqustina Latorre, 18, Jonathan Zavala, 24, Pia Jackson, 18, and Carlos Paredes, 29, at the front door of Millennium College on Dominick St, it has been announced that the college is to close with immediate effect. Picture: Damien Eagers 16/5/2014

Anne-Marie Walsh

KENELMA Perez was among dozens of students hoping for a refund of their €1,500 fees following the shock closure of a fourth English language school.

The economics student (24) from Venezuela said management at Millennium College told her she would get her money back if she turned up at their premises in Dublin yesterday.

But she was in tears after finding the door shut, with a badly-written notice pinned to it saying it had decided "with deepest regret" to cease trading with immediate effect.

Millennium College, on Dominick Street in Dublin, is the fourth college to close following investigations by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS).

INIS said this followed serious allegations regarding the practices of some colleges offering English language classes.

Visa

The Irish Business School closed earlier this month, after Eden College and Kavanagh College closed last month.

An incomprehensible "memorandum to all students" on the door of college said the closure was "due to the suspended by INIS the company arising financial crises".

The notice said it was hard to take this decision "but we had no choice", and gave an email at the Justice Department where they could check their visa status.

INIS suspended the issuing of visas and residence permissions to non-EEA nationals seeking to enroll with four colleges, including Millennium College, last month.

The other three are Eden College, National Media College and the Business and Computer Training Institute.

INIS said it conducted an inspection of Millennium College on April 15 and was told that attendance records prior to February 18 this year were missing.

It made enquiries with the UK accreditation body EDI, which accredited the training given at Millennium.

INIS said it discovered that no students had ever been registered with EDI by the college since it was first included on an internationalisation register in December 2012.

"This contrasts with the records of the immigration authorities, which record approximately 300 students as currently attending EDI programmes," it said.

However, it said the Department of Justice and Equality informed Millennium College that students currently registered with it could finish the course they had paid for.

It said the suspension also did not restrict the college from recruiting EU or Irish students.

INIS said there is no immediate threat to students' immigration status.

It said students at Millennium College, Eden College, and Irish Business School "whose immigration permission is currently valid" are considered to be on academic holiday until September 1.

INIS said it took this decision to "provide a breathing space for everyone involved".

Millennium's directors are listed as Elzbieta Jadwiga Gadajska and Joanna Monica Gadajska, with an address in Dublin 17, at the Companies Registration Office.

There was no answer at the college phone number yesterday.

Irish Independent

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