Irish are 'losing out on excellence' because of visa red tape

May 17, 2002

Irish universities claim they are losing out in the competition for top-class international academics and students because of visa and work permit red tape. And they say that bringing in academics has become more difficult since the beginning of the year as new regulations force them to liaise with the state's employment authority.

The Conference of Heads of Irish Universities has written to the government outlining some of the problems and looking for a fast-track method for bringing in world-class academics.

Labour law compels employers to give priority to European Employment Area nationals. They can go outside the EEA only if a suitable candidate is not found.

The CHIU also said that visa application and approval procedures for undergraduate and postgraduate students were too slow and obscure. There were many cases of students cancelling applications to Irish universities because other countries had given a visa reply before Ireland had, it said.

"Students of excellent quality have been unable to take up places because their visa was not processed in time. They have gone to UK universities instead, whose gain has been Ireland's loss," it has told the government.

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