International Students Can Now Stay in Ireland for Two Years


IrelandInternational master’s and PhD students will now be able to remain in Ireland for much longer, thanks to a new decree from the government.

Under the country’s Third Level Graduate Scheme, students studying at a postgraduate level will now be able to remain in Ireland to seek employment, working up to 40 hours per week and applying for further work permits or green cards, for two years. Previously, graduates from outside the EU/EEA were entitled to stay for only one year.

Postgraduate education – classified as level 9 or level 10 of the Irish National Framework of Qualifications – includes master’s degrees, postgraduate diplomas and doctoral degrees. Those completing honours undergraduate degrees will still have the 12-month period and those completing ordinary undergraduate degrees can stay for six months.

The move follows a period of change

The move follows a string of new legislation aimed at increasing international student recruitment to Ireland. A few months ago we reported on Ireland’s new international education strategy, Ireland Educated, Globally Connected, which set out a number of goals:

  • Increase international enrolment in higher education by 33% by 2019/20.
  • Increase enrolment in English-language teaching programs by 25% by 2020
  • Increase the overall economic impact of the sector by 33% by 2019/20

The new announcement is the next step towards achieving those goals. With the UK’s appeal as a top destination for higher education under continuing scrutiny, Ireland may well look to become the English-speaking destination of choice in Europe.

Education minister, Richard Bruton mentioned this at the launch, stating that, “there will be strong opportunities for Ireland in the area of international education when Ireland becomes the only English-speaking member of the EU.”

A popular destination already for international students?

Ireland is already a popular international student destination, but in the last few years the numbers have increased. Student numbers from the USA and India, in particular, have risen and there are currently more international students in the country than ever before. Ireland also looks set to be one of the top destinations for Indian students in 2017.

Additionally, Dublin is attracting a lot of foreign investment right now and it could well become the startup destination of choice. A very competitive corporate tax rate makes the country appealing to businesses, which in turn offers a myriad of opportunities to students looking for post-study employment.

Find out more about international education in Ireland.

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