22 March, 2020 - Statement from the Department of Education and Skills for students in the English language education sector, updated on 01 April 2020

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 a 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.

International students who hold a ‘Stamp 2’ permission may now work for up to 40 hours a week while their English language college is closed due to Government advice regarding Covid-19. This is conditional on the completion of their course online if this service is provided by the college and represents a short term and temporary measure.

All other rules will remain in place.

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 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

  1. The guidance note for students is available here
  2. 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).   

Ends

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