Wednesday, 17 November 2004
Dáil Eireann Debate
429. Mr. J. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will intervene in a case involving an organisation (details supplied) in Dublin 2 without delay to mitigate further damage and losses which are accruing to that school as a result of departmental action; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29160/04]
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): The position remains unchanged since my reply to Question No. 373 of Tuesday, 9 March 2004 regarding the organisation referred to by the Deputy.
To be given permission to remain as an English language student in this jurisdiction, the non-EEA national in question must be in a position to show that he or she is enrolled in a course that provides a minimum of 15 hours of tuition per week. The purpose of this rule is to ensure that study is the primary purpose of the person’s presence in the State and that enrolment in the course in question is not simply a convenient device to enable the putative student to cloak his or her presence for an alternative purpose with the vestige of study.
The school proprietor in question sought initially to arrange, for a fee, the presence of students in the State on the basis of four hours’ attendance per week — the remainder of the tuition to be done remotely via the Internet. The school was promoted on the basis that students would not even have to live near it. When asked why the students would have to go to the trouble and expense of travelling to and living in Ireland for the purposes of the e-learning scheme envisaged, the proprietor indicated that it was a necessary adjunct to the course that the students immerse themselves in the Irish way of life and practise speaking English in normal everyday situations.
When it became clear to the proprietor that his scheme was not acceptable to the Department, he indicated instead that he would now provide courses which cohered with the Department’s general rule, that is, physical attendance for 15 hours per week. The Department agreed to that arrangement provided that the Garda national immigration bureau was satisfied, on foot of a visit to the school, that reasonable facilities were in place which would support an objective conclusion that the stated policy of the school was in fact its true policy.
I understand that to date the proprietor has been unable to satisfy the Garda national immigration bureau to that effect. I should point out in this regard that it is not the policy of the Department to enable a school to operate in a manner which is unacceptable to acquire the necessary finance to comply with Department requirements — every undertaking of this nature needs an adequate amount of capital investment at the outset.
430. Mr. J. O’Keeffe asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if he will publish guidelines in respect of the issuing of documentation, approval, visas and green cards in respect of non-national students attending language skills classes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29161/04]
Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Mr. McDowell): My Department has for several years had in place a set of detailed student visa guidelines. These are available on the Department’s website, www.justice.ie. The guidelines are intended to assist frequent and high-volume users of the student visa scheme. In general terms, however, the principal criteria applied are that the prospective student should have enrolled in a full-time course of study which requires physical attendance of at least 15 hours a week, paid the fees for the course, have evidence of sufficient funds to fully support himself or herself during the stay in the State and should be able to show that he or she will leave the State and return home on completion of the course of studies.
|Last Updated: 04/11/2010 10:44:25||Page of 403|