Coronavirus: New Ireland visa concessions for language students

Coronavirus: New Ireland visa concessions for language students

The Government of Ireland has announced additional temporary visa measures to assist international language students in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak.

The Irish Ministry for Justice and Equality has recently announced the introduction of further measures to assist international language students who have been affected by COVID19.

The new measures pertain to both sets of students; some who have left the state and others who are still in the state.

Two key Ireland visa measures announced for foreign language students

The visa measures announced by the Irish government are as follows:

  • 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;
  • 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.

Marketing English in Ireland (MEI) has relayed to The Department of Justice and Equality that many colleges have rolled out online courses and students should directly contact the respective colleges.

Once registration offices reopen, the students who wish to remain as students in Ireland until the end of the year need to re-register themselves.

As soon as the registration offices reopen, first-time applicants will be prioritised and those first-time applicants who had their appointments cancelled previously will have their appointments rescheduled automatically.

Automatic renewal of immigration permissions until July

Charlie Flanagan TD, Minister for Justice and Equality, announced the automatic renewal of all immigration and asylum permissions for 2 months on the 13th of May, for those permissions which were due to expire between 20 May 2020 and 20 July 2020.

For the renewal to be intact, the students must still be complying with all the conditions set out in the Directive.

Students will also be able to continue their causal work if they chose to do so but it is obligatory for them to be enrolled in a study course to meet the conditions of their permission.

Alternative arrangements are being considered by the Immigration Service Delivery for the renewal of registrations. People whose Immigration Residence Permission card has expired will be given priority.

Flanagan said: “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.”

According to Irish law, international language students with a Stamp 2 can study for a maximum of 2 years and can work casually for 20 hours a week during the school term and 40 hours a week during holidays.

Pic: Alexander Andrews

Zahra Hamdani - Reporter, Global Education Times (GET News)

Zahra Hamdani is an Ireland-based reporter for Global Education Times who focuses on European and South Asian education news. When she is not writing for GET News, Zahra is a school-teacher and educationist with experience in both Primary and Secondary schools in the Republic of Ireland as well as in Pakistan.

You can reach Zahra at

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