Minister Flanagan announces further temporary measures to assist international language students.
The Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD, has today announced further measures to assist international students studying English in Ireland who have been impacted upon by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new measures are as follows:
1) Students who left the State before completion of their studies due to COVID-19 may return and resume their studies and the duration of their absence will not count towards the 2 years maximum period of English language study allowed;
2) Language students with a current, valid permission who are still in the State and who have completed the maximum 2 years permitted as a language student, but due to COVID-19 are unable to return home, may remain as students until the end of the year provided they re-enrol in an online course of study for the remainder of the year.
Announcing these measures, Minister Flanagan reassured those who are worried about their status in the State, saying:
I understand and recognise the difficulties that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on all immigrants, and in particular our international student population. I’m therefore pleased to be able to announce these new measures to support students which I hope will provide some welcome assurance and certainty for the coming months. We will continue to keep the situation under active review as matters evolve in our national response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The requirement to register remains for those students who have completed their maximum two years and wish to take up the option of re-enrolling in an online course of study until the end of the year. These students must re-register once the Registration Offices reopen.
The Department of Justice and Equality have engaged with MEI (Marketing English in Ireland), the representative body for the majority of language schools in Ireland. MEI have confirmed that most colleges are now offering on-line courses, and students should contact their college directly to make any necessary arrangements.
The Minister has previously announced the automatic renewal of immigration permissions due to expire between 20 May 2020 and 20 July by 2 months. For international English Language Students, the extension means that they may continue to work if they wish, but must also re-enrol in an on-line course of study to adhere to the conditions of their permission.