The Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan TD, today announced that students in the asylum protection system will have access to student supports from September 2015.
The proposal has long been advocated by Minister O’Sullivan and was one of the recommendations contained in the recent report by the Working Group on the Protection Process, which was chaired by former High Court judge Dr. Bryan McMahon.
According to Minister O’Sullivan, “Each year there are a relatively small number of students who are asylum protection applicants, including those in direct provision, who are effectively excluded from continuing their education after completing the Leaving Cert. These students have completed post-primary education in Ireland but cannot plan for their future in the same way as their classmates. It’s a particularly unfair situation that I want to see changed.
“From September students in the protection system, who have spent five years in the Irish school system, can now access student supports. This will bring certainty to a relatively small number of students who up until now have been marginalised despite their academic performance.”
The new proposal will see school leavers who are in the protection system (other than those at the deportation order stage) granted access, on a pilot basis, to student support in line with the current Student Grant Scheme. Students have to meet the following criteria:
- Meet the definition of a protection applicant or a person at leave to remain stage (other than those at the deportation order stage);
- Obtained their Leaving Certificate;
- Have been accepted on an approved Post Leaving Certificate course or an approved undergraduate course;
- Have attended a minimum of five academic years in the Irish school system, as at 31st August 2015; and
- Have been part of an application for protection or at leave to remain stage (other than those at the deportation order stage) for a combined period of 5 years as at 31st August 2015.
Students who meet these criteria will be able to apply to the Department of Education and Skills from the 1st September 2015. Their application will be assessed by the Department of Education and Skills against specified criteria.
An application form, and further information, will be available to download from the Department’s website from 1st September.
This new measure will operate on a pilot basis for the 2015/16 academic year.
Notes for Editors
The pilot support scheme for school leavers is targeted at students in the protection system or at the leave to remain stage (but not individuals for whom a deportation order has issued). There are three categories of school leavers within this process. The three categories are as follows:
- asylum applicants (protection process) – a person who has made an application for refugee status but where a determination has not been made
- subsidiary protection applicants (protection process) – a person who has made an applicant for subsidiary protection but where a determination has not been made
- individuals at the leave to remain stage but not at the deportation order stage.
Detailed arrangements will be available on the Department of Education and Skills’ website from the 1st September.