Big increases in number of international students in Ireland

China most popular country of origin of international students, ESRI study finds

The country with the highest number of international students coming to Ireland was China, with Malaysia, America, Canada, India, and Saudi Arabia also among the most common countries of origin, an ESRI report has found. Photograph: iStock

The country with the highest number of international students coming to Ireland was China, with Malaysia, America, Canada, India, and Saudi Arabia also among the most common countries of origin, an ESRI report has found. Photograph: iStock

 

The number of international students travelling to Ireland for third-level education has significantly increased, with China the most popular country of origin, a new study has found.

Irish universities have dedicated more resources to promoting themselves abroad as a destination for international students in recent years. Non-European Economic Area (EEA) students pay higher fees, generally of between €9,000 and €25,000, but for some courses such as medicine as much as €54,000 a year.

The number of international students coming to Ireland increased by 45 per cent between 2013 and 2017, according to the new report.

The study was conducted by the European Migration Network, which is part of the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) think tank.

In 2013, some 9,300 residence permits were issued to international students coming to study in Ireland, which had increased to 13,500 by 2017.

As universities and Institutes of Technology face increasing financial pressure, due to rising student numbers and static State funding, colleges have focused on attracting international students as a source of extra revenue.

The country with the highest number of international students coming to Ireland was China, with Malaysia, America, Canada, India, and Saudi Arabia also among the most common countries of origin.

The ESRI study, published on Tuesday, found the most common courses international students enrolled in were healthcare-related degrees.

Sarah Groarke, the lead author of the study, said one barrier to attracting students from abroad was delays with Ireland’s immigration registration system.

“Often there are no appointments available on the online booking system. Students have reported that delays cause stress and anxiety in relation to their legal status and have a negative impact on their academic experience,” she said.

Finding affordable accommodation was another problem facing international students, the report found.

The number of international students who went on to secure employment permits in Ireland after graduating had also increased in recent years, up from less than 50 in 2013, to 871 in 2017.