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The Third Level Graduate Scheme for students from outside the EEA (Stamp 1G)


This scheme now operates under new rules from May 2017 - This updated guide explains how it works and what the changes mean.

Can I stay and work in Ireland after I graduate?

Students graduating in Ireland with an Irish accredited degree (e.g. QQI or a university) at level 8 or above (honours degree, masters or doctorate) may apply to stay on for a period after their studies for the purpose of seeking employment - and with the potential to apply for an employment permit. In addition, two time-limited exceptions apply for students who began courses before June 2017 - there are transitional arrangements for awardees at level 7 and there is special case provision for graduates of Masters' programmes accredited outside Ireland, both of which are explained 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, with an immigration Stamp 1G, for a period of up to twenty-four months depending on their level of study, and subject to renewal after twelve months (for students graduating from May 2017 only). 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.

To sum up, these are the maximum periods under the Third Level Graduate Scheme:
Level 7 (e.g. Ordinary Degree) - Maximum 6 months
Level 8 (e.g. Honours Degree) - Maximum 12 months
Level 9/10 (e.g. Masters'/PhD) - Maximum 24 months

 

What are my entitlements under the scheme?

Holders of a Stamp 1G can seek employment, work for up to 40 hours per week and apply for further permission to remain in the state under employment permit arrangements. The types of work which can be undertaken with Stamp 1G are not limited to specific employment categories or salary levels, as with employment permits.

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.

 

I am a postgraduate currently on the scheme. Can I now renew for an additional year?

Not if you were already on the scheme when the rules came in. INIS say: "Students graduating from May 2017 only are eligible to apply for the twenty-four month permission, therefore such a renewal of stamp 1G will only apply from May 2018."

 

I was previously on the scheme and am now back at college doing a postgraduate course. Am I eligible to return to the scheme after my studies?

Yes, this is possible for students with an Irish accredited award at Level 9 or 10, provided that the total time spent in Ireland on a student stamp and Stamp 1G would not exceed 8 years. A Stamp 1G may be issued to postgraduates for a shorter period if required to fit with the 8 year rule.

 

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 to renew an immigration permission under the scheme, graduates living in Dublin should go through the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS), 13/14 Burgh Quay, Dublin 2. Graduates living outside Dublin should go through their local Garda Siochána registration office. When attending, applicants should take documentary evidence of their exam results in addition to the usual requirements for renewal of a GNIB card. Cards are issued at the normal fee rate.

 

When can I apply?

You can apply as soon as you receive confirmation of your degree result. To qualify, application should be made within six months of results being received.

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