In 2015, the government introduced new requirements for English language courses to appear on the visa list. From 21st January 2016, only courses and providers which met these requirements were included on the ILEP visa listings.
Here is our run down on what the changes mean for different situations...
Buying a new course
Students buying courses should take care to choose programmes which are included on new list. Visas and GNIB cards will only be available for programmes which are on the new list. It may be difficult to get a refund from a college if it has sold a course which does not appear on the new list. It is the responsibility of a student to make sure that the course they buy is eligible for an immigration permission.
Providers listed on the ILEP were required to meet higher standards of immigration compliance but that does not mean that all private schools have been assessed for quality or financial security. If you are considering a private English language school (as opposed to classes with a public university, college or institute of technology) the best advice remains to choose a course which is accredited for quality by ACELS *and* which has secure learner protection (e.g. MEI, bonding). Also see guidance from Education in Ireland.
Completing a course
Students who have already begun studying a course which has been removed from the visa list will be able to complete it. GNIB cards remain valid.
Registering for a GNIB card
Registration arrangements are unchanged for all courses listed on the ILEP. All GNIB cards will now be issued for 8 months, not 1 year, including renewals.
If you paid fees for a course that does not appear on the new list and you have not already registered for a GNIB card, please contact us by email, attaching photos/scans of your documentation.
We will closely monitor the situation and will provide further updates.