Businesses that write students' essays in exchange for payment are the target of planned legislation in Ireland.
Education minister Richard Bruton said that the country's higher education quality assurance body, Quality and Qualifications Ireland, was due to be given "specific powers" to prosecute essay mills and other forms of cheating.
The change is planned in the forthcoming Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Amendment) Bill, the Irish Times reported.
QQI is also set to develop new guidelines on the issue for universities, according to the report.
A spokesman for Mr Bruton was quoted as saying: "Plagiarism is currently subject to institutional disciplinary sanctions up to and including exclusion from the programme.
“Other approaches, including making it an offence to provide or advertise any form of academic cheating services, are currently being examined.”
The UK government has called for universities to impose tougher penalties on students who use essay mills, and has not ruled out future legislation on the issue.