Extension of ‘stay back option’ for international postgraduate students in Ireland

THE Irish government has agreed to a policy which now allows international postgraduates to stay in the country for up to two years after finishing their degree.The policy extends the Third Level Graduate Scheme to non-EU/EEA residents who have studied in Ireland to be eligible to legally work for 40 hours per week. As well as that, after two years they may apply for a Green Card or a work permit.This policy increases the ‘stay back option’ for students at level 9 or 10 of the Irish National Framework of Qualifications from the previous 12 months now up to 24 months. It is now valid for any international student who is studying for a master’s degree, postgraduate diploma, doctoral degree, or higher doctorate.Previously for some employment sectors, the restriction of the working period for international students was a disincentive in hiring them. The new extension is welcomed as a way to fill the skills gap and to improve the employability of postgraduate students emerging from Irish higher education institutions.