Why Study in Ireland
Ireland has published a landmark International Education Strategy 2010-15. This is with a view to creating brand ambassadors for Ireland across countries. Ireland is fully aware that it makes sense to invest in international students.
In the next 4 years, Ireland wants to take in 25,500 international students on full-time courses.
A statutory Code of Practice and Quality Mark is awarded to educational institutions that meet laid down criteria.
This Quality mark will be used by State bodies for visas, immigration, and access to labor market and also for promotions.
Ireland intends to fast track degree program visas. The maximum time a student may stay in Ireland for the purpose of attending courses at degree level is limited to seven years and students are responsible for managing their studies to ensure compliance with this time limit.
Students at honors bachelors’ degree level and above will be allowed to remain in Ireland for up to one year for the purpose of gaining relevant work experience or developing a business idea.
With a reputation for natural beauty and friendliness, Republic of Ireland also has a long tradition of education. The Republic of Ireland covers 26 of the 32 counties and the remaining counties from Northern Ireland which is part of the United Kingdom.
Top 10 reasons why Indian students should consider studying in Ireland
1. It is an English speaking country within the European Union.
2. It has short duration Masters Degrees, usually of 1 year
3. It has a long tradition of providing quality education.
4. About 10% of the population is foreign nationals, the society is multi-cultural. Approximately 1500 Indian students currently study in Ireland.
5. It is a very friendly society.
6. It is closer to home, just nine hours away by flight and is gateway to Europe.
7. It is home to more than 1000 MNCs who run their back office operations out of Ireland.
8. It is at the cutting edge of science and technology. The National Development Plan (NDP) and the Strategy for Science, Technology & Innovation (SSTI) are investing a total of €8.2 billion in research and development during the period 2006-2013.
9. It provides clear cut road map towards securing work and eventual permanent residency.
10. It is a young country like India, 40% of the population is under 25 years of age.
Cost of Studying in Ireland
The cost of studying in the Ireland is determined by the tuition fees of your course and whether you wish to study in the capital city of Dublin or outside in another city.
Tuition fees vary depending on the course you have applied to study.
Undergraduate fees range from €9,100 to €20,300
Average PG fees ranges from €9,150 to €20,000
MBA fees can range up to €30,000.
The cost of living (inclusive of accommodation, food, travel, books etc) varies depending on your own particular lifestyle. Please make sure to account for the entire living costs and tuition fees and do not assume that you can earn some money doing part-time jobs. Part-time jobs can probably only fetch a part of your expenses and when you are filing for your visas; authorities need to see your entire expenses for 1 year accounted for.
Dublin City is considered to be more expensive than other parts of Ireland to live. Dublin is followed by Cork, Galway and Limerick in terms of cost of living. The average monthly expenses are listed below:
Rent in shared house/flat € 500
Light/heat/power € 60
Food € 300
Monthly commuter ticket € 80
Books and other academic costs € 100
Clothes, laundry, medical, etc. € 70
Social life € 180
Total € 1,290
You will be able to save if you share a room with someone in the private sector. You can live far cheaper than this if you are willing to curb your lifestyle and share costs.
Application Process and Rankings in Ireland
Undergraduate courses are usually for the duration of 4 years. Universities and Institutes of Technology (IOTs) would accept the Indian 12th standard, however percentage levels required to gain admission will vary depending upon the course and institution that you wish to study at. As a general guide universities look at a percentage of about 75% to 85% for admissions at undergraduate level, however Institutes of Technology (IOTs) are more flexible while admitting students.
Postgraduate courses are usually for the duration of 1 year. Universities and Institutes of Technology (IOTs) would accept the degrees from recognized Indian universities, however percentage levels required to gain admission will vary depending upon the course and institution that you wish to study at. As general guide universities look at a percentage of 60% and above, however for Institutes of Technology (IOTs) are more open to admitting candidates with varied backgrounds. Not all IOTs will offer PG courses and also courses across all interest areas. IOTs will also offer mostly courses that are built based on the requirements of the industry.
Every student would like to study at a top ranked institution. Newspapers like The Sunday Times rank all the seven universities and the 14 IOTs based on criteria like entry qualifications of students, research work, employability, firsts awarded, student-staff ratio and drop-out rates. There are no official rankings of Irish institutions, however some figure prominently in the various rankings that cover institutions all over the world like The Times Higher Education and QS World University Rankings.
Education System in Ireland
The National Framework of Qualifications was launched in 2003. The National Qualifications Authority of Ireland is an agency of the Department of Education and Skills and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation and was set up in February 2001. It has responsibility for developing and maintaining the National Framework of Qualifications and has three principal objects which are set out in the Qualifications (Education & Training) Act 1999:
The establishment and maintenance of a framework of qualifications for the development, recognition and award of qualifications based on standards of knowledge, skill or competence to be acquired by learners
The promotion and facilitation of access, transfer and progression throughout the span of education and training provision
Levels for which students from India can apply for student visas
NFQ Level 7 = Ordinary Bachelor Degree (3 years duration)
NFQ Level 8 = Honors Bachelor Degree (3-4 years duration)
NFQ Level 8 = Higher Diploma (1 year duration)
NFQ Level 9 = Postgraduate Diploma (1 year duration)
NFQ Level 9 = Masters Degree (1-2 years duration)
NFQ Level 10 = Doctoral Degree (approximately 4 years duration)
There are 6 awarding bodies in Ireland.
Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC)
Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC), it is Irish version of AICTE
Dublin Institute of Technology
Institutes of Technology (IOT)
State Examinations Commission
Student Living in Ireland
Travelling and arriving in Ireland
Things you need to know:
Emergency number in Ireland: 999 OR 112
The police in Ireland are called GARDA, plural Gardaí (pronounced ‘gardee’). They patrol the streets on foot and in cars and are unarmed.
Conditions for all non-EEA Students (http://www.inis.gov.ie/)
There are conditions that all students (both visa required and non-visa required) must satisfy before they will be granted permission to remain in Ireland as a student.
You can book accommodation with the institution that you choose to study in or you can go into the private sector. For private sector accommodation, students are recommended to arrive at least 2 weeks prior to the start of the term. Most rented accommodation is furnished however the standard will vary according to price points. For Dublin, The Evening Herald is the best newspaper for private accommodation listings. For Cork and Limerick, the newspaper, Evening Echo can be a good source of adverts.
Another alternative is ‘digs’. This is living in a family home with the landlord. You can choose to have your own room or share with another student. Depending on your budget, options are available. A list of available accommodation is there on www.findahome.ie.
Other popular websites for searching for private accommodation around Ireland are www.daft.ie, www.collegecribs.ie and www.myhome.ie.
Threshold: This is a tenant advisory service which provides information on your rights as a tenant. Please visit www.threshold.ie to find out more.
All Indian students must register in person with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) after arrival and after completion of registration at the institution of choice if their stay in Ireland is for more than 90 days. The visa that you get is your permission to enter Ireland. Once you register at your institution, you get a set of documents to be presented to GNIB which grants your student visa.
It is cheaper to cook your food than eating out. All basic ingredients, fruits and vegetables are available in the main supermarkets. The supermarkets that are conveniently located all over Ireland are Tesco and Dunnes Stores. Superquinn which is mainly located in Leinster (convenient for Dublin based students) and Musgrave Supervalu are other popular supermarkets. Cut price brands Aldi and Lidl have also opened more than 100 stores in Ireland, however they store limited range. Having said that, they offer good discounts. Vegetarians should not have problems as there are shops that stock food stuff aimed at vegetarians. Visit http://www.irishvegetarian.com/ healthfoodshops.php to find out details of shops in the county that you are studying in.
Indian students are advised to obtain private health insurance in Ireland. Some institutions include insurance in the fees they advise to students. It is best to have a plan that is valid in Ireland. There are different levels of private health insurance available. Basic plans cost €120 and are available from companies like O’Driscoll O’Neil Insurance Brokers (www.odon.ie). These are plans that you can purchase before you arrive in Ireland and satisfies the visa requirement as well. More comprehensive plans are available from companies like VHI Healthcare, AVIVA and Quinn-Healthcare. However they have conditions like an address in Ireland and PPS Number (all employees in Ireland have a PPS number for tax purposes). You would also need to wait for your coverage to begin which can be 26 weeks. Some of these companies might have student discounts; you would have to check with them.
Vaccinations: If you are within 22 years of age, it is advised that you get Meningitis C vaccination done in India. The other recommended vaccinations are against MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) and Chicken Pox.
WORKING IN IRELAND
Currently international students who are enrolled for full-time study of at least 1 year duration on courses present in the Internationalization Register do not require a work permit to work in Ireland. They are entitled to work 20 hours per week during term time and up to 40 hours per week during the holidays. The entitlement to work ceases once the student visa runs out. Although you might be entitled to 20 hours of part-time work, before you enter Ireland you are required to prove to the visa authorities that you have enough funds to cover your tuition fees and living expenses. Pursuing your course is your primary objective. The current minimum wage in Ireland is presently €7.65/hour.
Internationalization register: The National Qualifications Authority of Ireland, on behalf of the Department of Education and Skills, administers the Internationalization Register. The Register lists the education and training programs approved for the purpose of access to employment by students who are citizens from outside the EU/EEA and Switzerland. As an international student, it is important that students check this register to see if the programs that they are planning to enroll is listed as it directly impacts their entitlement to work part-time during studies. The updated excel sheet of approved programs can be downloaded from http://www.nqai.ie/internationalisation.html.
Employment permits schemes after you finish your studies (for more information, log into www.deti.ie)
Persons who qualify under this scheme will be granted one non-renewable extension to their current student permission (Stamp 2) for a one year period starting on the date upon which the person receives their exam results. The purpose of the permission to remain under this Scheme is to seek employment and gain a Green Card or Work Permit.
After 1 year extension, Visa students can work with registered Irish Employer who will issue employment permit or Green Card Permit for 2 years. For Green Card permit whose annual salary (excluding bonus) is €60,000 or more, this employment will be available for all Occupations other than those employment or occupation which is contrary to the Public Interest. For those employees whose annual salary (excluding bonus) is €30,000 to €59,999 employment is available for restricted list of occupation only. The employer need not do a labor market test that is the employer does not need to advertise the job with FÁS / EURES or in newspapers. Either the employer or the employee can apply for the employment permit, based on an offer of employment. After 2 years on the Green Card permit the employee can apply for permanent residency. If the employee applied for the work permit before 1 June 2009, student’s spouse and children aged less than 18 years can apply for a spousal/dependant work permit once the employee is legal resident in Ireland. If the employee applied for a work permit after 1 June 2009, they are not eligible to apply for a spousal/dependant work permit; spouse/dependant may apply for a work permit in their own right.
After the one year extension, Visa students can apply for Work Permit for a job which pays €30,000 or more, if the employment permit or the Green card permit for 2 years is not available. Work permit is initially granted for 2 years and then a further 3 years, thus totaling 5 years. For Work Permit occupation, annual salary (excluding bonus) has to be €30,000 or more. Only in exceptional cases the annual salary (excluding bonus) can be less than €30,000. The vacancy must be first advertised for nearly 9 weeks and tested in the local Irish labor market before anyone else is offered the employment.
After 5 years the employee can apply for permanent residency. If the employee applied for work permit before 1 June 2009, spouse and children aged fewer than 18 can apply for a spousal/dependant work permit once the employee is legal resident in Ireland. If the employee applied for a work permit after 1 June 2009, he is not eligible to apply for a spousal/dependant work permit; they may apply for a work permit in their own right.