Delays to student visas could cost UCD €8.4 million

UCD President Andrew Deeks said that the delay could cause “reputable damage” to Irish universities

Delays to student visas could cost University College Dublin (UCD) €8.4 million, according to the Irish Times. In a letter addressed to the then Minister for Justice Francis Fitzgerald in April 2017, UCD President Andrew Deeks said that the delay could cause “reputable damage” to Irish universities.

In the letter, Mr. Deeks said that UCD were to expect 700 visa applications from Indian students between June and August, which is an increase of 400 from last years figure. If 400 of those students were unable to acquire visas, UCD would lose €8.4 million in revenue. Mr. Deeks said that “the failure in the timely approval of study visas would lead to a reputational damage for Ireland and its international education profile”.

This follows a notable growth in international applicants to Irish universities for the upcoming academic year which could be attributed to Brexit. Applications from non-EU students has increased by 26% in UCD and 40% in University College Cork.

According to the Irish Examiner, when speaking of the increase of international students to Trinity, Provost Patrick Prendergast said: “We have seen some evidence of increased numbers of non-EU students applying to Trinity courses and I think other Irish universities are seeing something of an uplift.”

Prendergast continued by saying: “So where students might have thought of the UK only, they’re now hedging their bets a bit and applying not just to the UK, but to other English-speaking universities like Trinity College. So, yeah, we have seen some evidence.”

Fees for international students are significantly higher than EU students. For a masters in law, non-EU students for the 2017/2018 academic year in Trinity pay €18,403 compared to €9,603 for EU students.

Speaking to Trinity News, Graduate Students’ Union (GSU) President Shane Collins commented on the large number of Indian students attending and applying to Trinity and commented that he would “expect the cost of any delays here to be substantial”, although noted that increased resources were allocated to the New Delhi office.

He added that “if our growth in numbers surpasses our ability to cater for the needs of students, the impact will be a lot more significant than €8.4m. It cannot be all about attracting international students, we must take care of students after they’ve registered”.

Collins said: “Here in TCD, international students use the GP nearly 4 times more than domestic students. Therefore increased numbers of international students can be expected to increase the need for these services, services that are already under-resourced owing to the continuing higher education funding situation. Not taking care of international students and all students for that matter will have lasting reputational damage on Ireland as a destination for pursuing higher education.”

The GSU work last year was largely in international student issues and  passed a motion last November to lobby for an introduction of multi- annual registrations for student visas. This would mean that students who are in Ireland for more than one year would register once as a student with the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) offices for the duration of their college programme.

Seana Davis

Seana Davis is a fourth year Geology student and News Editor of Trinity News.