22 March, 2020 - Statement from the Department of Education and Skills for students in the English language education sector

The Covid-19 outbreak is a rapidly evolving situation and the welfare of all students is a priority for the Department of Education and Skills. This is especially the case for those students from overseas who have travelled to Ireland to study English and who may be particularly vulnerable at this time.

The Department is actively engaging with key stakeholders to ensure that issues of primary concern to these students are addressed as a priority. It has established a new Covid-19 Working Group for the English language education sector, including representatives of relevant Government Departments and representatives of both students and English language education providers.

The Department has issued guidance for all students in this sector, which is available here. This guidance will be available in multiple languages and distributed through the English language providers to their students using relevant channels. 

This information sheet provides guidance for these students on:

  • Health advice about Covid-19
  • Immigration Status
  • Information for Employees and the Self Employed

The purpose of the guidance is to ensure that students in this sector are aware of all of the important messages and understand the trusted sources of information.

Students will also be directed to Covid-19 public health information provided by the HSE in a range of languages.

Immigration Status

The Department of Justice and Equality has recently confirmed that everybody with immigration permissions which expire between 20 March 2020 and 20 May 2020 are automatically renewed for a period of 2 months. This renewal is on the same basis as existing permissions and the same conditions will continue to apply.

Many international students have immigration permissions that are dependent on their attendance at language school. Where an English language education provider has closed due to Government advice regarding Covid-19, all international students will be considered to have met their attendance requirement for the shutdown period. All other rules will remain in place and students will be required to renew their registrations as usual.

Information for Employees and the Self Employed

Students who have lost their job as a result of the current pandemic, are eligible to apply for the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment, which is administered by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. The quickest way to apply is online via MyWelfare.ie.

The Covid-19 Working Group for the English language education sector will continue to meet on an ongoing basis to provide further support to students and providers in this sector. 

Note for Editors

The guidance note for students is available here

The inter-departmental and inter-agency Covid-19 Working Group for the English language education sector is comprised of representatives from:

  • Department of Education and Skills;
  • Department of Justice and Equality;
  • Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection;
  • Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade;
  • Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI);
  • Marketing English in Ireland (MEI);
  • Progressive College Network (PCN) and
  • Irish Council for International Students (ICOS).   

See Also

Guidance is available in multiple languages here.

Related Links: