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Foreign students should be encouraged

It is difficult to fathom the reason why the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) recently refused visa applications for 11 young overseas students who wanted to study the English language here for a month, at a time when Ireland needs all the foreign income, and goodwill, it can get.

This was just one of the many strange decisions made by INIS, and its policy towards students wishing to study in Ireland seems diametrically opposed to the Government's wish to attract investment in the form of foreign students.

On January 1, INIS imposed a regulation that all students studying in Ireland for more than seven years would have to return home, even though no such time limits had been placed on them when they came here. Study plans were cancelled, schools and colleges were jeopardised, financial contributions to the economy ceased and bank accounts were emptied as thousands of students reluctantly left Ireland for good.

On July 1, another rule was imposed that after just three years of study, students would have to move up to a degree-level course, or return home.

INIS does not appear to appreciate or realise that degrees are not for everyone.

Furthermore, students at all levels make an important and significant financial contribution to our economy -- the longer they stay, the greater that contribution is.

Such a decision should surely be within the remit of the Department of Education, the school or college that he or she attends, and/or obviously the student him or herself.

Edward Morris
Druids Glen, Co Wicklow

Irish Independent