herald

Monday 23 October 2017

300 affected as language school closes

A major clampdown on language schools in this country has been announced by Education Minister Jan O'Sullivan and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald.

The announcement comes as a seventh college for international students has announced its closure.

English in Dublin on Merrion Square, which had around 300 non-EU students, announced on its Facebook page that it was going into liquidation "with great regret".

The Government says it expects more English language colleges to close as a result of the new reforms. Six colleges have already closed here in the past four months.

Sweeping

The sweeping measures will hit language colleges which issue visas for students to travel to Ireland and are designed to protect student interests but also to stop abuse in the labour market.

From now on schools will only be allowed to issue visas if their courses have national recognition.

They will be subject to more regular inspections and the number of education programmes for student immigration will be curtailed and subject to much greater restrictions.

Under the new regime, which comes into effect from next January, changes will also be made to the "work concession" which allows non-EEA students to work while studying.

The two ministers say this concession "will be standardised to clamp down on abuse and to make the situation clearer for students and employers alike".

They say the reforms are necessary to protect the interests of genuine international students and "to safeguard the strong international reputation of high-quality Irish education providers".

"We cannot let our international reputation be damaged by low-quality provision or rogue operators," said Ms O'Sullivan.

Rogue

"These reforms are crucial to ensuring that only those providers which can offer the highest standards can attract international students."

The plight of students hit by school closures has been highlighted by the Herald as many were left stranded thousands of miles from home without visas and air fares.

The closures included Eden College which had 1,200 students and 40 staff and Irish Business School, both on Burgh Quay, Millenium College in Dominic Street, Kavanagh College in Marlborough Street and BCT on Parnell Square.

The ministers also published the final report of the Task Force set up to help students already affected by college closures.

csheehy@herald.ie

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