visas

Forum on Education Abroad Response to Travel Ban Executive Order

The Forum on Education Abroad, of which ASAPI is a reciprocal member, has issued a response to the executive order banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority nations. The Forum states that it "is strongly against President Trump’s actions, which run counter to the international education values that we work so hard to achieve." A running list of University and Higher Education Association responses can also be found at the International Higher Education Consulting Blog.

Update on INIS Online Appointment Booking

ASAPI received the following message from the Registration and Residence Division of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service: "The appointment booking system is in the final stages of  development and is going to be launched on Thursday, 8th of September offering appointments from the 15th of September. The existing early morning ticketing system will then end and all appointments will need to be made via the booking system."

 

Transfer of Registration Office from GNIB to INIS

Last week the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service held an information session on the transfer of the Dublin-based registration function from GNIB to INIS. ASAPI attended along with other Dublin 3rd level institutions. Of special note to ASAPI members:

  • At present, this only applies to Dublin. Registration will - for the time being - continue to be carried out by Gardaí in other areas of the country. Immigration control at Dublin Airport will soon be wholly managed by INIS which will hopefully reduce the number of students staying less than 90 days being referred to Burgh Quay.
  • The new appointment system - burghquayregistrationoffice.inis.gov.ie - will be going on line by the end of August, and possibly earlier. There will no longer be a ticketing system or any need to queue. Appointments are “released” six weeks in advance, so there will be rolling availability.
  • Prices will remain the same - €300
  • The office can be contacted at burghquayregoffice@justice.ie
  • The registration team advised marking messages URGENT for exceptional cases - e.g. student leaves the State for a bereavement and won’t be returning to the course until after stamp expiration; assistance with VIPs or visiting faculty, etc. They want to ensure that they respond appropriately to one-off cases but not necessarily create policies for them.
  • If you previously arranged a group appointment with GNIB for incoming fall students, it is very likely that INIS are not aware of it. If you are expecting to bring a group of students to register, you should contact them ASAP.
  • The INIS team at the meeting sounded amenable to making group appointments as long as they had sufficient (i.e. 4-6 weeks) notice. There was a philosophical discussion about the merits of keeping the new system completely focused on the individual student rather than groups, but INIS expressed a willingness to be flexible, particularly during the transitional period. They are very eager to reduce queuing and delays. At a minimum, they will be willing to give colleges/providers a “heads up” when appointments are about to be released so they can pass this information to students.
  • INIS appear eager to work cooperatively with educational providers to ensure that students use the new appointment system and are well prepared for their appointments. Note that there is currently no “NCT retest” option for students who do not come prepared with all their documents - they will have to go back in to the system for a new appointment.
  • The INIS are eager to expand a system trialed last year with some private colleges: replacing the college letter with a continuously updated spreadsheet from the college. This will ensure that information is up to date and reduce their considerable paperwork burden. INIS will hold a meeting later in the autumn to begin this process; ASAPI are eager to be involved with this from the earliest stages to ensure the particular needs of study abroad are built in to the system.

Government Policy Update on International Education Sector and Student Immigration System

ASAPI welcomes the acknowledgement and inclusion of the study abroad sector in the most recent Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service policy statement on the international education sector. INIS writes that "Established semester programmes (primarily involving students from US universities attending courses in Irish colleges) will be dealt with outside the ILEP arrangements by the Department of Justice and Equality. The Government recognises the cultural exchange potential of such programmes and the linkages between prestigious universities overseas and Irish colleges with a track record in this field and supports their continued operation." (Page 10-11, note 3) The recognition of study abroad in official government policy is a signficant step forward and ASAPI will continue its dialogue and advocacy for greater understanding of study abroad with INIS and the Department of Education and Skills on a direct basis as well as members of the High Level Group on International Education.

The full text of the policy statement is available here: Policy statement on International Education Final

Working Holiday Visas for Students and Recent Graduates

The Association of Study Abroad Providers in Ireland (ASAPI) has been given further details by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on the Ireland Working Holiday visa.  This visa allows US citizens to work and travel within Ireland for up to 12 months.  In order to qualify for the program, participants must be either in full-time (i.e. not part time or online) post-secondary education, or have graduated within the last 12 months of their application for the Working Holiday Authorisation. Applications can be made through the Irish Embassy in Washington or the relevant Irish Consulate in the US. We regularly hear from US study abroad students in Ireland who want to return after graduation, and this program provides them with the opportunity.

Please promote this program to your students as a great option for US students who want to live, travel, and work in a fantastic country.

For more information please see https://www.dfa.ie/travel/visas/us-ireland-visa-arrangements/

ASAPI Response to QQI White Paper on the International Education Mark

ASAPI has submitted a response to the QQI White Paper on the Policy on Authorisation to use the International Education Mark.

ASAPI outlined a number of areas of concern to the study abroad sector in Ireland including calling for clarification regarding the potential use of the IEM as a reference for immigration decisions, the lack of detailed information on the Code of Practice (only one of five components has been made available), including financial and tax compliance elements.

Click here to read the full response: ASAPI White Paper Response July 2014