New measures introduced to help English language foreign students in Ireland
Students will have their visas extended to complete their studies
Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan: Situation will continue to be under review. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill / The Irish Times
English language students who are stuck in Ireland because of Covid-19 will be allowed to remain as long as they re-enrol in an online course of study for the remainder of the academic year.
Students who left the State before completion of their studies due to Covid-19 may return and resume their studies, according to new measures introduced by the Department of Justice.
Under current guidelines English language students from outside the EU can study for a maximum of two years in Ireland on a visa which allows them to work in casual employment for a maximum of 20 hours per week during school term and 40 hours per week during holidays.
Language students, whose visas were due to expire between May 20th and July 20th, have had their visas extended by two months. It allows them to remain and work part-time in Ireland provided they re-enrol in an online course of study.
An estimated 1,000 foreign language students have been left thousands of euro out of pocket following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, with many living in overcrowded settings and with no means of securing an income because of the closure of so many pubs, restaurants and shops.
Many language schools offered credits rather than refunds to students. Many of those students who have left will not be able to return to Ireland.
The Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said that he recognised the difficulties that the Covid-19 pandemic was having on the international student population.
He added, “We will continue to keep the situation under active review as matters evolve in our national response to the Covid-19 pandemic.”