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Ministers O’Sullivan and Fitzgerald launch major reform of student immigration and the international education sector

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Minister Jan O’Sullivan and Minister Frances Fitzgerald have announced major reforms of the international education sector. Move will clamp down on abuse of student immigration, support high quality education providers and protect international students.

The new rules will take effect from 1st January 2015 and are set out in the Policy Statement “Regulatory Reform of the International Education Sector and the Student Immigration Regime”.

This sets out three pillars of reform:

  • A much more restrictive list of education programmes will be eligible for student immigration purposes. Only programmes which are accredited by Irish awarding bodies in the English language and higher education sectors will be permitted to recruit international students, with a few specific exceptions. Institutions will be required to have a track record of educational quality and immigration compliance.
  • An enhanced inspection and compliance regime will be introduced to monitor educational quality and immigration compliance.
  • Changes will be made to the operation of the work concession, which allows non-EEA students to work. The working year for the concession will be standardised to clamp down on abuse and to make the situation clearer for students and employers alike.

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Source: Department of Education & Skills