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International students who intend to continue higher level studies this autumn will be allowed to work in Ireland over the summer

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Minister for Justice Helen McEntee. Picture: Collins

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee. Picture: Collins

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee. Picture: Collins

International students who intend to continue higher level studies this autumn will be allowed to work in Ireland over the summer.

More than 2,000 English language students were due to have their Stamp 2 visas expire next week.

The English Language Students Union had said that a number of these students had paid deposits to continue their studies in Ireland in September, but were at risk of not being able to return if they give up their accommodation.

Justice Minister Helen McEntee, said further “clarity” was required for some students whose visas were due to expire next week, especially “for employees who may be awaiting the renewal of their Irish Residence Permit card and for English language students who intend to enrol in third level courses from September”.

"Non-EEA nationals can continue to work if they can provide documentary evidence of their ongoing application to renew their immigration permission to their employer,” she said.

“As in previous years prior to the pandemic, English language students who have completed their maximum three eight-month courses and who intend to enrol in third level for an undergraduate or graduate course beginning in the autumn, can apply for a short-term letter of permission based on their proof of application or enrolment.

"This will provide them with a bridging permission over the summer months until they start their course, which they can then register in the normal way.”

The minister had previously said the Government had agreed to extend immigration visas a number of times over the last couple of years and that it had no plans to extend the visas beyond May 31.

Stamp 2 visas allow international students to live and study in Ireland.

They can also work under a limit of 20 hours a week during term time, and 40 hours a week during college holiday periods.

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The Restaurants Association of Ireland had previously called on the government to consider extending visas for English language students for the busy summer period, as it said the industry was already suffering from a lower labour force.

The English Language Students Union said many students were anxious about leaving their accommodation, particularly in Dublin.

Some students have reported having to sleep in cars, or share beds with strangers as they struggled to find somewhere to stay during their studies. Others have also claimed they had to sleep in the airport.

The English Language Students Union said that it carried out an analysis which shows it is extremely difficult for international students to be able to afford to live and work in Dublin under the visa restrictions, which contributed to problems finding accommodation.

A study in February by the Irish Council for International Students (ICOS) said that half of international students are sharing a room with at least three people, while one in 10 have had to share a room with at least six people.


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