In a bid to uphold their brand message and national strategy, the Government of Ireland has announced concession to the international students by providing them access to graduate work opportunities in the country, even after completing their semester two studies remotely.
As per the announcement, the Irish government has implemented a temporary concession on its Third Level Graduate Programme, allowing students to stay in the Home Countries, instead of studying in Ireland and still be eligible for the scheme.
Non-EEA graduates with an award from a recognised Irish awarding body are allowed to stay back in Ireland after completing their studies, subsequently applying for employment under the provisions of the Third Level Graduate Programme.
A spokesperson from the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, stated that revision of the eligibility criteria for the Third Level Graduate permission scheme was done to reduce the number of overseas students travelling to Ireland and thus, protecting public health.
As a result of the pandemic, the temporary concession will allow international students to stay back in the home countries or travel back to study for semester 2 remotely and still be eligible to apply for the Third Level Graduate permission scheme, the spokesperson added.
The spokesperson further stated that the revision of the eligibility criteria will facilitate the reduction of overseas students travelling to Ireland till the end of the current academic year. The students, however, have raised their concerns over their eligibility for the scheme, as they have been studying in the home country since the start of the pandemic.
Reports have stated that the concession will be offered to the students upon satisfying a number of new and existing criteria. Students, presently studying remotely will be able to apply for the scheme on completion of the course in the summer of 2021.
This will be made possible if the students are able to display a letter from the higher education institution confirming that they were students at the university during the 2020-21 academic year. Students must also ensure that the letter confirms that affair that the course was delivered completely (100%) remotely and that the student, in question, was not required to be physically present on campus.
In short, the letter will reveal that the student has been capable of receiving the award from the relevant awarding institution or body, for which they took admission.
However, those students who were unable to travel to Ireland to register their permission as a student in the State, but have been successful in completing a Master’s programme at an Irish Higher Education Institution will be required to travel to the country, before the final results are issued, in order to register for the permission and become eligible for the Third Level Graduate permission scheme.
The Spokesperson emphasised that the core values of the Irish brand message and national strategy are “employability and the option to seek work in Ireland after graduation…”. Further adding that any policy decision that can reinforce the values at such an unprecedented time is welcome.
From UCD Global at University College Dublin, Director Douglas Proctor backed the decision stating that the level of anxiety among the current cohort of international students regarding their options after graduation may reduce.
Currently, the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science is in the process of drafting a new strategy for international education and research. He added that the process is in the developmental stages and that it is expected to see the new strategy published within the next few months.
Ireland is among the few countries that have been working towards providing international students with post-graduate work schemes that are adapted to the challenges that have been brought forth due to the pandemic.