As part of a package of reforms of the regulatory regime for international education, announced in September by the Ministers for Education & Skills and Justice & Equality, some changes have been made to the terms of the concession under which non-EEA students (holding Immigration Stamp 2) are permitted to work.
At present the work concession is operated on the basis that the student can work 20 hours per week during term time and 40 hours per week during the vacations. Since term and holiday time is set by the college this has given rise to considerable variability as to entitlements to work and is open to abuse.
UPDATE 2017: For more recent updates on study visas for Ireland, read this post or check out our immigration information guides here.
From 1 January 2015 the work concession will be standardised and will no longer be dependent on the term times set by the colleges. Students holding a valid immigration stamp 2 will be permitted work 40 hours per week only during the months of May, June, July and August and from 15 December to 15 January inclusive. At all other times they will be limited to working 20 hours per week.
It should be noted also that the hours specified are the maximum that a student can work in any given week and not an average over time. A student who is working for more than one employer remains subject to the overall limits (e.g. during the period when the 20 hour limit applies a student could not work 15 hours each for 2 employers).
There is an exception to the general rule where a student can work for 40 hours per week outside the specified times above. Students who obtain a minimum of an honours degree at bachelor level are entitled to receive a 12 month extension to their student permission during which they can work for 40 hours per week. For students who graduate with an ordinary level degree the period is 6 months. The student will have a stamp 2 permission but should also be able to produce a transcript of their final results from the college in support of their entitlement. Students on this scheme can work without a permit and can be employed on contract/internship/probation for this time. If the employer wishes to offer employment beyond the duration of the graduate scheme an employment permit will be necessary.
Note that employing a student beyond the hours permitted is an offence under the Employment Permits Acts
- Students are not permitted to work as taxi drivers either as employees or in their own right as holders of a taxi licence in their own name.
- Students may not engage in self employment.
(Some additional forms of employment are likely to be added to the restricted activities list in the course of 2015).