Press Releases


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  • 02/09/2014   Ministers O’Sullivan and Fitzgerald launch major reform of student immigration and the international education sector
    Minister Jan O’Sullivan and Minister Frances Fitzgerald have announced major reforms of the international education sector in response to issues raised by the closure of a number of private sector colleges this year. The reforms are necessary to protect the consumer and educational interests of genuine international students, to tackle abuse of the labour market and the immigration regime, and to safeguard the strong international reputation of high-quality Irish education providers. The two Ministers also published the final report of the Task Force established to help students affected by the college closures. Alternative educational accommodation has been put in place for affected students. The Task Force report noted that, despite strengthened rules in place, there continues to be abuse of student immigration by a number of low quality providers. With today’s announcement, the two Ministers are taking urgent action to address these concerns. The new rules will take effect from 1st January 2015 and are set out in the Policy Statement “Regulatory Reform of the International Education Sector and the Student Immigration Regime”.
  • 16/06/2014   Minister Fitzgerald announces launch of joint visa initiative between Ireland and the United Kingdom
    Minister Fitzgerald announces launch of joint visa initiative between Ireland and the United Kingdom · Minister says Scheme will help attract business visitors and tourists to Ireland · Visitors will travel freely within the Common Travel Area on a single visa The Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald, T.D., today (16th June, 2014) announced that the ‘British Irish Visa Scheme’ between Ireland and the United Kingdom will commence this autumn starting with China and India. The British Irish Visa Scheme will allow for travel to and around the Common Travel Area (CTA) on a single visa. As matters stand, many overseas tourists and business visitors who wish to visit both Ireland and the UK, including Northern Ireland, need separate Irish and UK visas. From the autumn the objective is that visitors from China and India will be able to travel freely within the Common Travel Area using either an Irish or UK visa. This will mean that tourists, business visitors etc. will be able, for the first time, to visit both Ireland and the UK, including Northern Ireland, on a single visa. Minister Fitzgerald said the British Irish Visa Scheme, jointly initiated by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service of her Department and the UK Home Office, “Will make it easier and more attractive for visitors to visit Ireland and the UK and is expected to provide a major boost to tourism and business visitors. “China and India will be the first to benefit from this groundbreaking Scheme and I look forward to the successful implementation of the new arrangements in respect of both of those countries.” The Minister emphasised that the Scheme “marked an historic development in the relationship between Ireland and the UK and in the operation of the Common Travel Area which has existed between the two countries since 1922.” “Both countries are committed now more than ever before to working together on visa and border matters and the British Irish Visa Scheme reflects that unprecedented level of cooperation.” “Building on the success of the Irish Short-stay Visa Waiver Programme introduced by the Government in July 2011, the British Irish Visa Scheme will enable both countries’ immigration systems to work in tandem to promote and facilitate legitimate tourism and business travel to Ireland and the UK while also strengthening the external borders of the Common Travel Area.”
  • 13/03/2014   Minister Shatter announces targeted changes in the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme
    The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter TD, today announced some targeted changes in the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme (STEP) operated by his Department. The changes, which were agreed by the Government, followed a review of the operation of the STEP and are intended to refine the programme and improve its appeal to potential migrant entrepreneurs. To date a total of 20 applications have been approved under the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme with a projected investment of over €6 million and potential employment creation of over 220 jobs. There are, however, indications of further opportunities to attract entrepreneurs and further enhance Ireland’s excellent reputation as a business and investment location.
  • 12/03/2014   Minister Shatter announces Humanitarian Admission Programme to assist vulnerable persons suffering in Syria and surrounding countries
    In response to an approach by members of the Syrian community in Ireland and in light of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Syria the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Alan Shatter, TD today announced that he is putting in place an immigration based humanitarian admission programme with a view to providing some further assistance to vulnerable persons affected by the conflict in the region. The "Syrian Humanitarian Admission Programme" (SHAP) will focus on offering temporary Irish residence to vulnerable persons present in Syria, or who have fled from Syria to surrounding countries since the outbreak of the conflict in March 2011, who have close family members residing in the State.
  • 06/01/2014   Immigration in Ireland – 2013 in Review
    Immigration in Ireland – 2013 in Review