COVID-19 Control Measures
Ireland has responded very comprehensively and effectively to the COVID-19 challenge through significant health measures, very substantial legal restrictions on movement and gatherings, social distancing and economic and social retrenchment to minimise the impact of this virus. More details of specific actions are available at www.gov.ie/covid-19.
In addition to our national economic and social efforts, and at a very early stage of this crisis, Ireland recognised that there were certain issues that would specifically affect international students remaining here. The Department of Education & Skills very quickly established a Working Group focused on issues and challenges for International Education, particularly those faced by international students who were here in Ireland when the virus arrived.
This Working Group has representatives from across the International Education sector and includes student bodies, higher education institutions and all relevant State departments and agencies. This has resulted in the following actions and supports for international students.
- Health Care Provision
The Irish Government has put measures in place to ensure the availability of health care services for international students. All international students studying in Ireland can receive public health services for the testing and treatment of the Covid-19 virus. These services are being provided free of charge.
- Education Provision for current international students
The Department has been working tirelessly with our universities and colleges to implement alternative teaching and learning delivery methods to ensure the successful completion of programmes.
Our higher education institutions have finalised alternative assessment arrangements, with options including online exams, written assignments or rescheduling/deferral. New assessment arrangements have been communicated to all students, which has given a significant level of comfort to international students.
- Financial Supports
We are aware that a large number of international students would have worked in Ireland to cover living costs and may have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic. A special COVID-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment of €350 per week is available to any international student who lost their job as a result of the outbreak. For those international students in Ireland who had not yet engaged in employment while in the State, and are in need of assistance, our Government is providing financial supports under an Exceptional Needs Payments scheme.
- Student Accommodation
The Irish Government has enacted legislation to protect those availing of rented accommodation in Ireland. This legislation includes rent freezes and prohibits evictions while Ireland is fighting the COVID 19 pandemic.
These supportive measures of income and accommodation certainty have given the international students that you have entrusted in our care reassurance during these difficult times.
- Immigration Issues
The Irish Government reviewed the arrangements in relation to Immigration and International Protection permissions to reside in our country for international students. All permissions that were due to expire during the pandemic have now automatically been renewed. These extended permissions are on the same basis as existing permissions and the same conditions will continue to apply. This gives certainty of status to international students who have remained in Ireland.