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The Third Level Graduate Scheme for students from outside the EEA

Can I stay and work in Ireland after I graduate?

Students graduating in Ireland with an Irish accredited degree at level 8 or above (primary, masters or doctorate) may apply to stay on after their studies for the purpose of seeking employment and applying for a green card or work permit. To qualify for the Third Level Graduate Scheme, the student's award must be granted by a recognised awarding body based in the Republic of Ireland (such as QQI or a university). For graduates at level 7, transitional arrangements apply - see below. In addition, a time-limited exception for Masters' awards accredited outside Ireland is also provided for as a special case - see below.

Under the terms of the Third Level Graduate Scheme 2017 Revision, a person who qualifies will be granted an extension to their current student permission for a period of up to twenty-four months depending on their level of study, and subject to renewal after twelve months. Entry to the Graduate Programme is available to persons only if they apply within six months of confirmation of their award and while their current student permission is still valid.

For students whose degree is at a minimum of level 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications the period for the Graduate Employment Scheme is up to 24 months. Students on level 8 of the NFQ will be offered the 12 month scheme.


What are my entitlements under the scheme?

Holders of a Stamp 1G can work for up to 40 hours a week and/or to seek employment and apply for further permission to remain in the state under green card or work permit arrangements.

Graduates who receive the Stamp 1G are also entitled to return to education after availing of the scheme if they re-enter at a higher level and can finish the new course within the overall 7 year limit on studies for non-EEA students. For graduates with an award at level 9 or above the overall limit is 8 years.


What are the transitional arrangements for students receiving level 7 awards?

Students already enrolled on an Irish accredited level 7 programme at 31st May 2017 may apply for a six months residence permission after receiving their results until 31 December 2019. This transitional arrangement extends provision that was available under the previous Third Level Graduate Programme.

Students who enrol in a programme leading to an award at Level 7 after 31 May 2017 will not be permitted to avail of the Third Level Graduate Programme at the end of their studies.


Are any exceptions made for awards not accredited in Ireland?

Overseas accreditation - for example an award studied in Ireland but accredited by UK university - will not qualify for the scheme at level 8.

However, the outline of the revised scheme states: "As a wholly exceptional measure, students enrolled on or before 31 May 2017 in a programme leading to an equivalent award at Level 9 of the National Framework of Qualifications but accredited by an overseas awarding body may apply for a six months' permission on Stamp 1G conditions. This provision will cease with effect from 31 August 2018."


How do I apply?

To apply graduates should present at the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS), 13/14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2, or their local Garda Siochána registration office, with documentary evidence of their exam results in addition to the usual requirements for renewal of a GNIB card.


When can I apply?

You can apply as soon as you receive confirmation of your degree result.

Note: Graduating non-EEA students can engage in full-time work (up to 40 hours per week) between 1st June and 30th September provided this period is covered by an existing Stamp 2 student permission.


Where can I find out more?

For more information of the conditions and requirements of this scheme please visit the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) website.


Last reviewed/updated: June 2017