Skip to content
#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Image: imageBROKER/Shutterstock

Criticism as international students told to enroll in a course to extend their visas

The Department of Justice has said that they will take a pragmatic approach to the situation.
Apr 30th 2021, 7:07 PM 19,083 34

A REPRESENTATIVE BODY for international students in Ireland has criticised the Department of Justice for telling people studying English to pay for a course so they can extend their visas.

Laura Harmon of the Irish Council for International Students (ICOS) said the move unfair and called on the department to review the advice.

The advice from the Department was to foreign language students studying in Ireland who have expiring visas.

To enable them to stay in the country they must pay for a 25-week course irrespective of whether they can complete it or not.

“While we welcome the decision by the Department of Justice to extend international students’ visas until 20 September 2021, we feel it is extremely unfair that many English language students will be forced to pay for classes they will be unable to attend.

“Given the financial strain that students are under as a result of the pandemic, it seems highly unfair, for example, that a person whose visa expires on the 20 July must enrol in a 25-week course when they can only avail of 9-10 weeks, and in addition to this, they are expected to pay €300 to renew their permission,” Harmon said.

ICOS is calling on the Department of Justice to reconsider its position and said that it “needlessly penalises students” whose visas will expire in the summer months.

The group has said a fairer approach would be to allow students to enrol in an English language course in accordance with the number of weeks remaining on their visa and for any renewal fee to be waived.

“The information on the INIS website must be clearly displayed and in a language that non-native English speakers can expect to understand as ICOS continues to receive dozens of emails from international students who are unsure about the visa extension, or what they must do to renew, which is partly due to the confusing nature of immigration’s website,” Harmon added.

In response to a query by The Journal, the Department of Justice said that they understood the impact on members of the public including international students.

#Open journalism No news is bad news Support The Journal

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support us now

“The Department recognises the difficulties that Covid-19 has had on everyone in the country, including our international student population. From the outset of the pandemic, we have worked to provide assistance and assurance to people who use our immigration services.

“Since the pandemic was declared in March 2020, immigration permissions have been extended, on seven occasions, until 20 September 2021.

“If a student’s immigration permission expires during the Summer months, they can enrol on another 25 week English language course and register their permission to be in the State. This currently will allow them to remain in the State until 20 September, however, each case will be assessed on its individual merits and a pragmatic approach will be adopted,” the statement read.

Send a tip to the author

Niall O'Connor

COMMENTS (34)

This is YOUR comments community. Stay civil, stay constructive, stay on topic. Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy here before taking part.
write a comment

    Leave a comment

     
    cancel reply
    Back to top