Written answers

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Department of Justice and Equality

English Language Training Organisations

Photo of Maureen O'SullivanMaureen O'Sullivan (Dublin Central, Independent)
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267. To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality in view of the recent closure of a prominent school of English in Dublin, if she will acknowledge that there is a need for greater urgency from her Department with regard to processing accreditation and coordination of language schools applications as the long waiting times are causing uncertainty for both tutors and students as they have been left with no response since 21 September after relaying all documentation to Irish National Immigration Service and the application is on hold awaiting response (details supplied); if her attention has been drawn to the waiting times are too long and that there appears to be a lack of coordination between INIS and her Department in processing applications when all documentation is in order; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [47054/14]

Photo of Frances FitzgeraldFrances Fitzgerald (Dublin Mid West, Fine Gael)
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I understand that the Deputy is referring to the application by the college in question for ACELS accreditation from QQI. The Deputy will be aware that from 1 January 2015, non-EEA nationals wishing to obtain a student immigration permission to study English in Ireland will only be permitted to do so at an ACELS recognised school or college. This new policy was jointly announced by myself and the Minister for Education and Skills on 2 September as a response to the closure of several private sector English Language Schools on foot of revelations of malpractice and immigration abuses. My officials inform me that the final applications for ACELS accreditation are currently being assessed by the ACELS Recognition Committee on which my Department is represented. Where immigration officials are aware of discrepancies between the numbers of students declared by a college in the ACELS application process and the numbers registered with the Garda National Immigration Bureau, there is necessity for such anomalies to be thoroughly investigated before a final decision on ACELS recognition can be made. The Deputy will appreciate the necessity of ensuring that all English Language Colleges operate to the highest standards in light of recent events. My officials inform me that a decision will be made on the application in question by 12 December next.


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