Ireland, despite that it is an island, remains the best place you can work and study. It is blessed with so many beautiful features that make it a popular study destination for students from overseas countries.
In Ireland, just like other EU or EEA countries, international students are placed under stricter rules when it comes to getting part-time employment as a student. Students from the EU/EEA member countries are permitted to take up an internship or employment while studying and also work after graduation.
For non-EU students, you must be armed with a study visa before coming to study in Ireland. An international student is permitted to work for 20 hours only while school is in session.
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Advantages of Studying in Ireland
The following are some of the benefits you would enjoy for choosing to study in Ireland:
- There are so many universities in Ireland that made it to the lists of top world-ranking universities. It has thousands of courses available for international students.
- Higher institutions in Ireland operate under the British education system. This means that quality education is guaranteed for you. You are going to acquire skills that would place you on a higher pedestal where you would be sought after for employment.
- You would enjoy hospitality as an international student because Irish people are the most welcoming people in Europe. So, you are going to have the best study experience.
- According to the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook of 2009, Ireland operates with one of the best education systems in the world. It ranks 8th in the world, as published in the yearbook.
- Due to the quality of its education system, Ireland has become one of the rapidly growing economies of the world over the past few decades.
- Because of its multicultural economy, Ireland is always graced with the presence of tourists and immigrants. As an international student, you will experience a new culture and meet people of diverse backgrounds.
- It is not too difficult to acquire an Irish visa. All you need is strong proof that you can finance your studies in the country.
Tuition Fees in Ireland
In Ireland, bachelor’s degrees are made free for Irish citizens and other citizens from EU/EEA countries as well as Switzerland. The Higher Education Authorities (HEA) take care of the costs.
Note that not all programs offered in the higher institutions of Ireland are free. Check the official page of the university you are applying to for further information. Also, international students are expected to pay tuition fees and it is within the reach of an average man.
Tuition fees in Ireland also vary, depending on the school and level of studies. Of course, private schools are more expensive than public schools. However, as an undergraduate, you are likely to pay between €9 000 and €5 000 per annum. Likewise, postgraduate students would pay between €9 150 and €37 000 per annum.
Additionally, you are expected to pay around €2 500 – €3 000 per year for student services and they include examination entries, support for clubs and societies, and so on. The fee varies from one university to another and is after yearly changes.
Living expenses in Ireland vary, depending on your location, type of accommodation, lifestyle, and personal expenditure. You might spend, on average, between €7 000 and €15 000 per annum. Included are rent, electricity, food, books, healthcare, traveling, social expenses, and so on. For those living outside Dublin, the rents and prices of goods are relatively cheaper.
Working as a Student
There are conditions for students who hold a work permit to work beyond the statutory hours of the week. You can work for as much as 40 hours per week. This usually happens from June to September (that is, during the summer holidays) and between the 15th of December and to 15th of January (during the short holiday period). Also, the permission to work ceases the moment your student’s Stamp 2 immigration permission expires.
International students who are engaged in full-time study that would last for at least one year, without a permit. But the course they are offering must lead to a qualification that is recognized by the Irish Department of Education and Skills; otherwise, it is not valid.
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Conditions that Permit Students to Get Work
Any student who wishes to get a part-time job while studying in Ireland must:
- Register with GNIB. Non-EU students who hope to come to Ireland to study for more than 90 days are mandated to register with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB)
- Be enrolled in a recognized program of education at the above NFQ Level 7
- Undertake a minimum of 15 hours per day to study
- Get tuition between the hours of 8 am and 6 pm per week for a minimum of 25 weeks per annum
- Be studying a program that would last for at least one year.
Any foreign student who meets the above conditions and wishes to get a part-time job in Ireland is mandated to obtain a Personal Public Service (PPS) Number. It is only students who have acquired their PPS Number that are eligible to be paid by an employer. The payment must be made to an Irish bank account of the student.
Furthermore, the student will be expected to comply with the Universal Social Contribution (USC), Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI), employment laws, and taxation requirements.
You may also be placed on probation by your employer for some time before being permanently hired. This is to be sure you are qualified to handle your job roles. For your wages, the minimum wage paid by Irish employers is €19.15 per hour. This is encouraging for part-time employment.
Internship Programme for Students in Ireland
If you are a student and are placed in a degree program, you are permitted to undertake an internship, assuming this forms part of your program. Notwithstanding, there are rules guiding that and they include:
- If the internship or work placement is part of the program, it cannot exceed the duration of 50% of the full program. For instance, if you are enrolled in a four-year program, the internship or work placement would not exceed 2 years. More so, the job must not be a self-employed kind of setting.
- Internships as part of an academic program must be a solid part of the program that contributes to the final degree award.
- The educational authority must make sure that the internships are tailored to the program leading to the degree award.
Post-Study Pathways for International Students
After your studies in Ireland, you are permitted to stay back for employment, though with some restrictions. International students can apply for an extension to their study visa for up to six months after they have been awarded their exam results. This is to enable you to acquire work experience to prepare you ahead of employment. You must apply to the GNIB for this.
When this is done, you will be required to get employment in specific areas where there is a shortage of skills. This is done under the Irish Third Level Graduate Scheme. The scheme exists to allow graduate residents to remain in Ireland to look for employment or apply for a green card or work permit.
Within this approval period, such a student can work full-time, which is 40 hours per week. This permission is non-renewable. However, there are conditions under which the Third Level Graduate Scheme can be renewed. Furthermore, green cards are issued on two conditions:
- The job must pay above €60 000 per year; and
- It must pay above €30 000 per year for at least two years if the job is in a restricted list of occupations.
Contact the Irish Immigration Office for more information. You can also get help from your career service for career options and finding a job while studying in Ireland. Check their website for a convenient time when you can book an appointment with them.
Applying for Your Visa
Under the current education system of Ireland, non-EEA students are permitted to apply for a one-year visa. To qualify, you are advised to enroll in an English course for a minimum of 6 months with a minimum of 15 hours of class per week. Here, the 8-month visa will replace the initial one-year visa. Now, if you enroll on a 6-month course, you will be permitted to remain in Ireland on the completion of the course for an additional 2 months. To apply for a long-term student visa, this is done online. Visit the website for your Online Visa/Preclearance Application to fill out the form. Select the correct application type and answer the questions correctly. Then, print a summary of the application form. The following information must be provided for the application:
- Passport and details of any previous passport (include the number, date of issue, and expiry date)
- Details of any previous Irish visa or visa from any other country
- Details of any previous criminal convictions or pending charges
- Contact details of your host in Ireland or your sponsor
If you are denied the visa, you may appeal the decision within 2 months. More so, when you get to Ireland, book an appointment with the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service office. You will be required to pay the sum of €300 to be issued a resident permit.
In conclusion, working as a student in Ireland is very possible. You will be required to comply with certain laws before you will be able to work freely. With the money you made from your part-time job, you can take care of your living expenses and in some cases, your tuition fees. Also, get prepared for fun as you will have the opportunity to meet diverse people and network. We wish you the best.
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