ICOS' guide to the new policy reforms and ILEP

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Below we summarise the key points set out by a policy statement launched by the Irish government in May 2015 and its timeline for implementation...


From 2nd June 2015

  • A new list of visa eligible courses, the ILEP, was issued on 2nd June. The number of courses for which visas will be available was significantly reduced. Further education programmes were removed completely. Students already studying courses not included on the new ILEP list were able to complete them.
  • Visa eligible English language courses continued to be listed on the Internationalisation Register on a temporary basis. English language providers were required to meet increased quality and immigration standards to achieve listing on the second edition of the ILEP.


From 20th January 2016*

  • A new edition of the ILEP was issued, adding only those English language programmes meeting standards set by the immigration service. New visas are no longer available for any courses omitted, but students already studying will still be able to complete them (in principle but with concerns that more colleges will close without students receiving the clases they have paid for).
  • All GNIB cards (including renewals) for 25 week English language programmes will now be issued for 8 months, rather than one year. Valid GNIB cards issued before 20th January 2016 will not be affected. Students will continue be able to study three 25 week English language programmes before being expected to progress to higher education. » Read more
  • Learner protection arrangements have become compulsory for all programmes listed on the ILEP.
  • Advance fees paid by students seeking visas through embassies will need to be kept in secure accounts by colleges as a first step toward full escrow arrangements.
  • English language students will need to be issued with a full time-table showing teaching hours and any periods for which the college will take holidays. It will not be possible for colleges to 'front-load' holiday weeks given to students and these will not be permitted to exceed 1/3 of overall lapsed time since the start of the course. A standardised manual recording sheet for language student attendance will be introduced by the immigration service.


Late 2016

  • Removal from the ILEP of all non-EU degree programmes and EU degree programmes which do not match Irish accreditation requirements
  • Introduction of the International Education Mark


Updated 20/01/16

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