Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Questions (568)

Rose Conway-Walsh


568. Deputy Rose Conway-Walsh asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science if his Department has instructed higher education institutes not to encourage international student to travel into the State for the second semester of the 2020-2021 academic year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8305/21]

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Written answers (Question to Further and Higher Education)

My Department has informed the higher education sector that, at present, international travel for education purposes should only be facilitated for those international students for whom on-campus academic attendance is essential during semester 2, for example in respect of necessary practical and clinical activities.

The higher education sector follows a protocol which was put in place prior to the commencement of the 2020/2021 academic year, outlining the procedures to be followed to facilitate the safe arrival and return of international students to higher education programmes. The over-riding goal of this protocol document is to support the protection of public health, including that of all students, staff and the wider community. In signing up to this protocol, higher education institutions committed to having the necessary arrangements in place to provide assurance to Government that the arrival of all international students into the country would be managed safely. Each HEI provides assurance that all of these measures have been carried out, by sending in a weekly compliance report to my Department. Under the protocol, incoming international students must comply with all current public health requirements put in place by the Irish authorities in respect of international travel.