REVISED RULES ON THE STUDENT PATHWAY
In 2016 the Irish government introduced a new Stamp for international non-EEA students who wish to stay in the State once they are finished their Irish degree programmes. The Stamp 1G is a stamp for non-EEA international students which allows those currently holding Stamp 2 permissions to avail of a Stamp 1G Third Level Graduate programme. This Stamp was introduced following the publication of ‘Irish Educated Globally Connected’ in 2016. This publication set out the State’s commitment to reforming the Student Graduate Programme so as to encourage high-performing students to studying in Ireland, and to meet skill gaps within the Irish economy.
The Stamp 1G is now operating under revised rules as of May 2017. These revisions introduced in May have extended the maximum time periods that non-EEA graduates, who have Irish degree awards, who are legally resident on Stamp 2 permissions to remain in Ireland following their studies. These revisions allow non-EEA graduates to continue to work in the State for between periods of between 6 and 24 months, depending on the level of their degree course. Graduates of Level 7 courses are entitled to 6 months maximum. Graduates of Level 8 programmes in the State are entitled to 12 months or less on the 1G student programme, while Graduates of Level 9 programmes or higher are entitled to 12 months, with the potential to renew this permission for another 12 months. The 1G stamp is for the purpose of non-EEA graduates to apply for a general employment permit, a critical skills employment permit or a research hosting agreement.
The conditions for applicability of the programme to non-EEA students who have completed their studies in Ireland are set out on the INIS website. The student:
“1) Must have been notified in writing by the relevant awarding body or institution
on or after 1 January 2017 that they have achieved the award for which they
had enrolled as a student.
2) Must hold a current Stamp 2 student immigration permission and an up-to date
immigration registration card, and must apply within six months of being
notified by the relevant awarding body or institution that they have achieved
the award for which they had enrolled as a student.
3) Must not have already exceeded the seven-year limit on their permission as a
non-EEA national student in the State.
4) May, if having previously benefitted from the Third Level Graduate Programme
at a level 8 award or above, on achievement of a higher level award, e.g. level
9 or above, re-enter the Third Level Graduate Programme, subject to the
overall limit of eight years.
5) A graduate will not be permitted to access the Programme on more than two
separate occasions, subject to 4) above.
6) Must, in line with the obligation on any non-EEA national seeking to renew
their permission to be in the State, comply with the laws of the State. Such
persons are expected to be of good character and not to have come to the
adverse attention of the authorities in any way.”
The Stamp 1G is considered more flexible than the Stamp 2 working permit visa, allowing full-time employment, as opposed to the restrictive working permissions of Stamp 2. The scheme allows graduates to work in Ireland for up to 40 hours per week for a maximum of one year, during which they can apply for further permission to remain in the state under green card or work permit arrangements. Those who hold a Stamp 1G are also exempted from the requirement to obtain a working permit. Those on Stamp 1G are not restricted to certain areas of employment or salary, as is the case with working permits.
The recent changes to the Student Graduate Scheme have been positively received by many international students. The Student Graduate Scheme allows international students to further develop their employment skills in Ireland, while also addressing skill and language gaps in the Irish economy.