Parliamentary Question to the Minister for Justice and Equality (Ms. Frances Fitzgerald, TD)
To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality if Level 6 courses offered by institutes of technology qualify as eligible courses for participation in the student bond system for the purposes of obtaining a visa to study here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer, TD
For WRITTEN on Thursday, 25th September, 2014.
All non-EEA students seeking to pursue a full time course of studies in Ireland are required to demonstrate access to certain minimum levels of finance. For visa required nationals this generally requires the provision of bank statements and comprehensive information is available to students on the INIS website regarding what proof of finance is required when applying for a visa. A pilot programme is currently in operation which allows visa required nationals seeking to undertake certain degree programmes in Ireland to provide an alternative to bank statements as a method of proof of finances. The alternative method is an “education bond” with a minimum value of €7,000. The bond must be lodged to an approved student fees payment service and must be held continuously from the initial visa application through to the time the student registers in Ireland with the immigration authorities. Currently the courses allowable under this alternative arrangement are limited to Degree Programme courses delivered by certain types of institution which I understand can include the Institutes of Technology. Full details regarding eligible courses and awarding body are available on the INIS website at www.inis.gov.ie.
Officials from my Department are available to discuss the operation of the bond system with the Institutes of Technology.