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Question

419. Deputy Paul Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the measures that are being put in place to ensure the former students of a now closed English-language school (details supplied) are able to extend their visas and not be discommoded due to the closure of the college; her views on the situation facing students of closed language schools with particular reference to compensating students for fees paid. [49763/14]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): Following the closure of a number of private sector English language colleges during 2014 my colleague, the Minister for Education and Skills, and I established a task force to assist genuine students affected by these private sector college closures. The report of the task force was published on 2 September 2014. A dedicated website has been put in place outlining a range of options open to non-EEA students affected by the closure of private sector colleges and in that regard I am informed that arrangements for non-EEA students affected by the closure of Leinster College will be available on that website at www.studenttaskforce.ie by the end of this week.
The recent experience surrounding the closure of various colleges, most recently Shelbourne College, and the widespread immigration abuses that have been seen throughout the sector, clearly illustrates that the status quo with respect to the regulation of Colleges accepting non-EEA national students is untenable and cannot be allowed to continue. If the State is to grant immigration permission to non-EEA nationals to live, study and work in Ireland then it must be able to regulate the institutions which they attend and it must have confidence in the quality of education services that are being delivered. In that regard it is important that bona fide students can have confidence that providers will deliver to them the courses for which they have paid.
I am fully committed to delivering on the government's regulatory reforms programme in this area as announced in September 2014 in conjunction with the Minister for Education and Skills. Ireland's reputation as a high quality destination for international students is at risk and I am committed with my colleague the Minister for Education and Skills to ensure that that reputation is protected.