A big day for education in Ireland with The Cabinet signing off on plans that should see higher education students returning to a full campus life experience from September and visa changes for students from South America announced by Minister for Justice Heather Humphries.
The plans published this week see a return to classroom-based learning, as well as the return of on-campus activities with societies, bars, canteens and sports at Irish campuses - with facilities “operating in line with prevailing public health advice for those activities".
Minister Humphries announced today that she has lifted the visa requirements introduced in January that limited people entering Ireland from South Africa and South America.
She told RTÉ's News at One that these countries will return to their previous standing, but that visitors from countries still on the list are subject to mandatory hotel quarantine. These changes will open up travel for essential reasons including business, medical or family reasons.
The decision means that when arriving in Ireland from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Guyana, Paraguay, South Africa and Uruguay, there is no longer a requirement to be in possession of a valid Irish visa.
The also means that people arriving from Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Suriname, no longer need transit visas to travel to another State via Ireland, but will still require a visa to visit Ireland.
It has also been underlined that Public health measures still remain in place for all those arriving into Ireland and the Government strongly advises against unnecessary international travel to Ireland. The full statement from Minister Humphreys can be found here.
The move to lift the visa restrictions comes as the processing of all long-stay visa applications has also restarted!
Commenting on this news, Brendan McGerty from Griffith College Dublin told us:
“This news is a very welcome surprise for the Irish education sector which is one of the many key study destinations that has suffered hugely since the start of the pandemic. It is testament to the superb way Ireland has handled the COVID-19 crisis and the vaccine rollout that these visa restrictions have now been lifted and we can welcome new students from South America once again".
Griffith College is proud to have remained fully operational throughout the pandemic, with 100% of classes delivered either online, face to face or blended/hybrid. In-class delivery of English language programmes returned this month and and everyone in the school's organisation is thrilled to be receiving more students from South America on their historic campuses in the coming months.
Echoing his sentiment, Nico Dowling from Atlas added:
“Here at Atlas we welcome the news that Visa requirements have been lifted for most South American countries. It’s a great first step to getting South American students back in our classrooms".
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