NEW STUDENT VISA REGIME
This week we have been receiving a large number of queries concerning the new Student Visa recommendations which are now being carried out since the beginning of January. The changes regarding the criteria for renewals of stamp 2 permission, and the particular exemptions for timed out students are causing many of our clients considerable confusion. We would like to direct you to our article “New Student Regime for Full time Non EEA Students” from December 2010. This summarises the changes in the system which are now being implemented and might assist those who are trying to figure now they are effected.
We would also like to highlight to you the recent UK case of SAB and Others  UKUT 441 (IAC). The case concerned an appeal of a doctorate student of Ghanian nationality who had consistently worked in excess of the maximum hours permitted by the UK Immigration Rules. It was found that the immigration judge was correct to dismiss the applicants' immigration appeal, although it was a significant interference with his private and family life to prevent him from completing his doctorate whilst in the United Kingdom. It was confirmed that curtailing his permission to remain and preventing him from completing his doctorate in the UK was a proportionate response to a person who totally disregarded his obligations under the Immigration Rules by working for hours excessive of those permitted over a prolonged period. The reasoning for this decision is summed up by the UK Tribunal as follows:
“The restriction on working hours imposed on students are hard to police and other things being equal a person who chooses to ignore the Rules should not expect to find it easy to persuade the Tribunal that he is entitled to remain on human rights grounds until his degree is finished. Any other result would seriously undermine the requirement that students take only limited employment and it would be unfair to those students who might wish to work longer hours than are allowed.”
The new student visa recommendations as recently implemented in Ireland bring the Irish student visa system more in line with that of the UK. We would think that the next year will see a low tolerance in respect of EEA national students in the State who are breaching the terms of their student visas. Such students may quiet likely be refused the renewal of their Stamp 2 permission to remain, or may find that their permission is revoked, if they have not complied with the conditions of their visa. Taking guidance from the UK case of SAB and Others, it is unlikely that the Irish courts will have any more sympathy for such students than the UK courts.
As always we look forward to hearing about your experiences of the new student visa regime and would be happy to advise on any problems you are having.