Ireland’s Third Level Graduate Scheme

By Eli Romary / January 28, 2020
Ireland's Third Level Graduate Scheme

Ireland is an ideal place to live, work, and study. Ireland is home to many high quality institutions that also offer plenty of opportunities for international students. One of these opportunities is Ireland’s Third Level Graduate Scheme, available to non EEA/EU students who obtain a degree from a higher education institution in Ireland.

What is the Third Level Graduate Scheme?

Ireland’s Third Level Graduate Scheme allows graduates of university courses and degree programmes to stay and work in Ireland for at least a year after their programme is finished. Qualified students will receive a Stamp 1G on their visa that is initially given for a period of 12 months. This stamp can then be extended for an additional 12 months, if the student qualifies for an extension.

The Third Level Graduate Scheme was put in place in order to encourage international students who received their education in Ireland to remain in the country and put their skills to use. Once students participate in the initial 12 months of the programme, they may also qualify to apply for a permanent visa to remain in Ireland for longer than two years. The scheme is really attractive to graduates that are looking for a professional career in several different areas, including informational technology, pharmaceuticals, finance and business, and recruitment, among many others.

For more information on the Third Level Graduate Scheme, click here.

How do I know if I qualify?

Ireland’s Third Level Graduate Scheme is only available to non EEA/EU students. Students that are from EEA/EU countries and Switzerland are already eligible to remain in Ireland and work after graduation.

Graduates of Level 8 programmes (Honours Bachelor Degree and Higher Diploma) are able to obtain a Stamp 1G for up to 12 months. Overall, they may be granted a maximum of seven years since the time spent on a Stamp 2 student visa and a Stamp 1G on the scheme cannot extend over a period of seven years in total.

Graduates of Level 9 and 10 programmes (Masters Degrees and PhDs) qualify for a Stamp 1G for up to 24 months. They also qualify for a maximum of eight years of student permission overall.

After 12 months, students who participate in Ireland’s Third Level Graduate Scheme may qualify for the Green Card or Work Permit scheme.

These degrees must be granted by a recognised Irish award-giving body:

  • The eight Irish universities: Trinity College, University College Dublin (UCD), University College Cork (UCC), Dublin City University (DCU), Maynooth University, National University of Ireland at Galway (NUIG), The University of Limerick, and the Technological Institute of Dublin.
  • Institutes of Technology
  • The Royal College of Surgeons Ireland
  • Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI)

Ireland’s Third Level Graduate scheme is not available to students who are completing language courses and non-degree programme students.

How do I get a stamp?

Eligible students for Ireland’s Third Level Graduate Scheme must currently hold a Stamp 2 immigration permission and a valid and up to date immigration registration card  in order to participate in Ireland’s Third Level Graduate Scheme. They must also apply within six months of graduation. They also must not have already exceeded their seven year student permission limit.

When applying for the scheme, students must present the following documentation in order to receive a Stamp 1G:

  • Evidence of the award either as a hard paper copy (parchment), or if a student has not yet graduated, an official letter from the award giving body, stating that the award has been achieved and will be granted to the student.
  • A valid passport
  • A valid Irish Residence Permit Card (Formerly known as GNIB, and now referred to as IRP)
  • A payment of €300 by way of credit or debit card, since cash is not accepted.

Ireland’s Third Level Graduate Scheme is a great opportunity for international students to stay and work in Ireland. It is also a great bridge to later obtain a permanent residency and stay a while longer!

Do you plan on taking advantage of Ireland’s Third Level Graduate Scheme? Let us know in the comments!

About the author

Eli Romary

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