‘It was terrifying,’ one Irish student told the Irish Independent.
‘I’m from Ireland and I was born here and I have to study here.
I don’t want to come here.’
‘I feel like we’re all at risk now, that we’re in danger of losing our jobs.
We’re all worried about our jobs and our lives.
‘There are people who work in universities who feel the same way about us.
‘This is something that’s happening now, and it’s happening in our own countries.
‘We’ve had enough.’
Irish students have been forced to postpone or cancel their summer holidays in the US to avoid being forced into the UK.
They have been offered jobs in America, France and Germany, but some have taken their chances at other American universities.
‘My dream is to study in America and I feel like this is my dream, my dream is in America,’ said one Irish college student.
‘If you don’t study here you can’t have that dream.
‘It has been stressful.
We’ve had so many conversations with people, like in France, and people have been saying: ‘You have to go to Ireland, there’s not enough places here, I’m afraid we’ll lose your job’.
Irish students will be able to study at US universities after Brexit and are expected to start arriving in the UK in June.
In the past, Irish students were able to visit the US in August, but they will now have to wait until the start of 2019.
Ireland has been on a visa lottery since the country’s break from the EU in March 2019.
The EU’s free movement agreement with the US allowed Ireland to enter the UK for six months without needing to obtain permission from the UK Government.
Irish students now have an extra six months to study, but many fear that will be enough to miss their plans.
‘The UK Government has made it clear that they don’t need us to study if we are here,’ said a student.
‘[They’re] saying that we are not eligible for a visa so if we come here, we will be staying here for six weeks.
‘That’s a nightmare, and we don’t know what’s going to happen.’
A spokesperson for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the Irish Government was working closely with the Irish Department of Education, the Irish Higher Education Authority, and other agencies to secure visas.
‘As a matter of course, we support the ability of Irish students to study anywhere in the world, regardless of whether they have an academic qualification or not, and are committed to ensuring that we remain the only country in the EU that allows Irish students access to the highest quality education.
‘While we recognise that there are still significant difficulties with visas, we understand the importance of Irish universities and the work they do to educate our students.
‘All students have the right to study and to study where they want and that includes studying in the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
‘However, we recognise there are some circumstances in which a visa may be required and we work closely with our partners to ensure we do everything possible to help Irish students complete their studies, while at the same time ensuring that the Government’s visa system is open to Irish students.’
We will continue to work with the Department to support the Irish education system, and encourage the Irish community to come to Ireland and study and contribute to the UK economy.
‘Ireland remains committed to the United Kingdom, and the best way to do this is to continue to trade and to attract talent and investment.’
The Department of External Affairs and International Trade said Irish students could apply for a work permit and could work in the country for up to three years after arriving in Britain.
The UK has already granted more than 3,000 visas to Irish nationals since Brexit and the number is expected to increase as the country looks to attract more foreign talent.
‘Irish students who wish to study or work in Britain should be prepared to undertake a work visa application and provide sufficient documentation to prove they have the required skills and qualifications to be able achieve their aims in the workplace,’ the spokesperson said.
‘In the event of a successful application, we expect to receive a decision in due course.
‘Applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis, with the full range of relevant information, including the visa status of the applicant and the Irish government, the relevant immigration and social welfare system, as well as the relevant academic qualifications, if any, being available.
‘Whilst we are committed, and fully supporting, Irish universities to the pursuit of excellence, we are concerned that Ireland is losing out on the best and brightest Irish talent in the next two years by allowing its borders to be closed to Irish universities.’
As part of our work to attract foreign talent and invest in British businesses, we remain committed to working with the Government and the relevant authorities to provide an orderly transition to a new relationship.
‘A work permit is not required