Ireland must show solidarity with international student graduates

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Ireland must show solidarity with international student graduates

International students who graduated from Irish universities and colleges in 2019 and 2020 have seen their opportunities of finding work in their area of study severely curtailed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Instead, many have spent their graduate visa working in frontline employment providing vital services during several prolonged lockdown periods.

Now as the economy and society begins to open up, many graduates’ visas are coming to an end. ICOS has appealed to the Department of Justice to show solidarity with international student graduates by extending their visas by a further 12 months.

ICOS Executive Director, Laura Harmon, said: ‘Ireland is a leading global destination for study and is home to world-class higher education institutes, which is why every year thousands of international students choose Ireland as a destination to pursue third level studies.

In addition to their important contributions to the Irish education system and wider society, international students make a significant investment to come to Ireland to study and develop their careers.  One of the big appeals of Ireland is the graduate visa which provides a pathway to sponsored employment and long-term residency.

Given the contribution that graduates have made during these difficult times and the lack of suitable employment opportunities as a result of the pandemic, ICOS is calling on the Department of Justice to show solidarity with graduates on the scheme, as they have with current international students, by granting them a 12-month visa extension.’

Harmon also added: ‘the higher education sector in this country is very reliant on income generated from international students - providing an extension to current graduates is not only the right thing to do, it will also send out the right message to the world that Ireland acknowledges and supports the important contribution of international students.’


About the Third Level Graduate Scheme

The Third Level Graduate Scheme (or Stamp 1G) is a visa that allows non-EEA international student who graduate with a Level 8 qualification, or above, from an Irish higher education institute, the opportunity to work in full-time employment for a period between 12 - 24 months.


About ICOS

The Irish Council for International Students (ICOS) is an independent advocacy organisation whose mission is to protect the rights of international students, and to contribute to a healthy and vibrant international education sector in Ireland which has the quality of the student experience at its centre. 

ICOS has more than thirty institutional members, including all nine universities in the Republic of Ireland, and many of the Institutes of Technology and independent third level colleges. Our membership also includes the Union of Students in Ireland (USI). ICOS’ values include: consultation, collaboration, learning, and accountability, and our goals are to influence policy and standards in international education; build the capacity of our members; empower international students to pursue their rights; and support and showcase the important contribution of international education to international development.



Further information:

Brian Hearne, Communications Officer, Email:

For comment:

Laura Harmon, Executive Director, Ph: 0861738455 Email:

News type
ICOS Press Release