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Ireland temporarily allows non-EEA graduates learning remotely to access work visas

Since 2017, third level graduates from non-EEA countries who have been awarded a degree from a recognised third level education institution in Ireland may remain in Ireland for a period after their studies for the purpose of seeking graduate-level employment. Under the terms of the Irish Third Level Graduate Scheme, non-EEA national students who qualify are granted an extension beyond the end of their student visa for a period of up to 24 months, depending on their level of study for the purpose of finding graduate-level employment in Ireland.  Normally legal residence in Ireland is required to apply for the scheme, but the Irish government recently announced that a temporary concession has been agreed to allow the 2020/21 international student cohort to apply for the scheme even if they were not able to travel to Ireland for their studies due to Covid-19 restrictions. 

Students who are currently studying remotely can apply for the scheme when they complete their course if they provide a letter from their higher education institution stating that they were a student for the academic year 2020/2021 and completed a 4-year honours degree, a Master’s degree or a PhD. Eligible students approved for the scheme will be able to work in Ireland for an initial 12-month period after the completion date of their qualification. Students who were enrolled on one-year Master Degree programmes will have to travel to Ireland and register in the country before the issuance of their final degree results in order to be eligible for the Third Level Graduate Scheme. 

This announcement from Ireland’s Department of Justice comes as the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science is finalising preparations for the publication of an updated national strategy for international education and research. This new strategy, which is envisaged to be released in the coming months, will serve as a follow up to the Irish government’s 2016-2020 International Education Strategy for Ireland.

Further details of the scheme can be found here.