International Postgraduates 

Ireland’s national strategy had been less effective in the attraction of international staff and researchers. This may reflect the fact that the attraction of international faculty including researchers is dependent on a wide range of areas including remuneration levels, university rankings, working and immigration conditions and the cost of living in Ireland. The success of international education in Ireland would be measured by the quality and international reputation of Ireland’s academic offering and Ireland’s research base

Rights of Non-EEA Postgraduate Researchers  

USI demands to end discrimination against non-EEA postgraduate researchers by implementing reforms that include but are not limited to:   

  • Abolish the recurrent cost of €300 for the renewal of the Irish Residence Permit (IRP). 
  • The provision of Hosting Agreement Schemes to non-EU postgraduate researchers. 
  • Abolish the points-based system for funding agencies’ scholarships based on the applicant’s citizenship. 
  • Sponsorship and processing fees for visas, Garda vetting, and residence permits should be adequately funded by the HEIs. 
  • The time spent in postgraduate research by non-EU postgraduate researchers should be counted toward naturalization and residency. 
  • Provide working rights to the spouses of non-EEA postgraduate researchers.  
  • Provide access and assistance for healthcare, affordable health insurance, disability benefits, paid maternity, paternity, and sick leave.  
  • End the unregulated and higher tuition fees for non-EU postgraduate researchers and students. 

International education has a major gross impact of €2.38 billion on the Irish economy. However, Ireland’s attraction of international researchers is affected by low remuneration levels, working and immigration conditions etc. There is an urgent need to make reforms on some of the key legislative/ immigration barriers in recruiting and retaining international and non-EU postgraduate researchers in Ireland. USI calls on the government to remove the difference in immigration stamps and hosting status (The Third Country Researchers Directive between the IRC/SFI/HEIs-funded non-EEA PhD researchers and EU/Marie Curie PhD researchers. This recommendation is aligned with Ireland’s national research strategy Impact 2030 which aims to attract the best students globally to take part in the Irish experience, as well as the Department of Justice’s vision of a safe, fair, and inclusive Ireland. USI has noticed an increase in visa refusals of PhD researchers on insufficient funding grounds despite winning IRC/SFI or HEIs’ scholarships. The duration of residence permits should at the very least match the duration of the course PGRs are enrolled in. The visa issues for non-EU PhDs’ spouses and children due to ambiguities in the Family Reunification policy should be addressed urgently. We also urge reforms on the availability of medical cards for Non-EEA PhD researchers.