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Student holiday periods from 1st January 2015 – understanding the new rules

Updated: 3/8/16

From 1st January 2015, the Irish immigration service standardised the holiday periods in which international students could work full-time. The changes applied for all types of course - from English language to PhD.

Under these rules, non-EEA international students are able to work full-time during two periods of the year only, reflecting the traditional summer and winter college holidays for academic programmes. These are currently defined as:

Summer: 1st June to 30th September (4 months)

Winter: 15th December to 15th January (1 month)

Full-time work means up to 40 hours per week. At all other times, a limit of 20 working hours per week applies. These are maximum weekly figures rather than average figures.

Key points

Students do not have a right to take holidays from college at these times if classes are normally scheduled during the dates specified. However, a student on a flexible programme, such as English language, may be able to negotiate a timetable to include additional holidays when booking the course. Under immigration regulations, total holidays can never exceed one third of the period since the start of a course. A request to vary college holidays should always be made in writing (e.g. email). The written agreement of the college is required and any such the arrangements should be part of the study timetable issued to a student to register with the immigration service at the start of the course.

NOTE: From 20th January 2016, GNIB cards for English language students on 25 week programmes will be issued for 8 months rather than 12 months. The above periods for full-time working will continue to apply within the 8 month visa period. » Read more