50pc hike in fees for migrants 'threatens business'
AN unannounced 50pc hike in the registration fee for immigrants arriving in Ireland was attacked last night for being unjust -- and a threat to the country's €900m a year business in attracting international students.
The fee, up from €100 to €150, coincides with the introduction of fingerprinting of migrants from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) area, with certain exceptions.
The Migrant Rights Centre Ireland (MRCI) said it was completely unacceptable and unjust to generate revenue on the back on these workers and students.
Marketing English in Ireland (MEI), which represents English language schools in Ireland, said it would penalise international students, about 30,000-35,000 of whom arrive in Ireland each year, with about 70,000 here at any one time.
The fee applies to all non-EU/EEA students, not only those in language schools.
Migrants from outside the EEA, which includes the EU, Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland, must register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB).
Adrian Cummins, CEO of MEI said: "The international student market to Ireland is now worth €900m to the Irish economy and this new measure will send shockwaves through the sector and has the potential of putting Irish jobs at risk."
MRCI deputy director Jacqueline Healy said in addition to paying taxes and this registration fee, non-EU migrants paid €500 a year for a work permit and €100 for an annual re-entry visa. Non-EEA students contributed millions to third level institutions in fees. MRCI estimates that the €50 increase could take an extra €5m to €10m from non-EU migrants.