I can inform the Deputy that the Third Level Graduate Programme is for graduates with an award at Level 8 or 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications.
Graduates with level 8 awards are granted a 12 month permission to a maximum of 7 years’ student permission overall. Graduates with an award at Level 9 or above who qualify for the programme are granted permission for 24 months to a maximum of 8 years’ student permission overall. There are currently no plans to change these arrangements.
The granting of the Third Level Graduate Programme is for the purpose of seeking graduate level employment and applying for a general employment permit, a critical skills employment permit or research hosting agreement. Graduates with an award at Level 9 or above will be granted permission for twelve months initially. This will be renewed for a further period of twelve months (subject to the overall eight year limit) where the graduate satisfies the immigration authorities that he or she has taken appropriate steps to access suitable graduate level employment (e.g. attendance at job interviews, signing up with graduate employment agencies, etc.).
Students who were residing in Ireland and attending Irish institutions, and who returned home due to COVID-19 and completed their studies and exams online abroad, and who will receive their award from the Irish institution, will be entitled to avail of the programme and will be allowed to apply from overseas. This new measure has already been put in place and was published on the Immigration Service website (www.inis.gov.ie) on 17 April 2020.
Further updates on these new immigration arrangements and the various measures being taken by the Immigration Service to implement them can be found here:
A detailed Frequently Asked Questions document on the impact of COVID-19 on immigration and international protection can also be found on the website at the following link. This FAQ document is regularly updated.