The government have recently announced the decision to extend the Third Level Graduate Scheme from 12 to 24 months. The scheme which has been in existence since 2007, applies to non EU/EEA students with level 9 qualifications and above under the National Framework of Qualifications. It currently allows these students to remain in Ireland for a period of 12 months after graduation to find employment.
Under the changes, non EU/EEA Masters and PhD students who receive their degree from a recognised Irish awarding body will be able to stay in the country for 24 months to search for work after finishing their degree. Speaking to Trinity News, the President of the Trinity College Graduate Students’ Union (GSU), Shane Collins, welcomed the extension saying it was a “very popular decision among our postgraduate international student community” and that it was a “very positive development, both for our students and Ireland’s economy”. Collins stated his belief that the old scheme of twelve months was too short, with the time limit discouraging some employers from hiring these graduates in Ireland.
However, Collins also highlighted the need for the Department of Justice and Equality to clarify the parameters of the scheme as it is currently unclear as to when the extension will come into force and if it applies to graduates in the 2016/17 academic year, a move which Collins says the GSU will argue strongly for.