Tuesday, 22 March 2022
Department of Education and Skills
730. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he received correspondence from this Deputy on 9 March 2022 in relation to parents of Irish citizens who hold a stamp 4 and cannot access SUSI; and if he will issue a response. [15095/22]
I can confirm that the correspondence referred to by the Deputy has been received. A response is breing prioritised and will issue shortly.
The nationality requirements for the Student Grant Scheme are set out in Section 14 of the Student Support Act 2011 and Regulation 5 of the Student Support Regulations 2021. The candidate's nationality or immigration status in the State determines whether or not she or he meets the nationality requirement outlined in the Act and Regulations, and would be therefore eligible to qualify for a student grant.
Permission to remain in the State on the basis of a Stamp 4 Visa, of itself, does not meet the nationality requirements of the Student Grant Scheme 2021.
There is provision for a review of eligibility where a person’s circumstances changes in the academic year. This includes a change in relation to a student's nationality or immigration status. Where a student acquires Irish citizenship by naturalisation, or is granted one of the permission to remain criterion provided for in the Act or Regulations during the course of their studies, she or he may apply to SUSI to have their application re-assessed.
I think it is important that our approach to these issues is equitable and consistent with the intent and purpose of the immigration permissions which are granted to individuals.
Following representations from the Irish Refugee Council, NASC and others in relation to Stamp 4 visa holders, I have asked my officials to look at the issue raised today by the Deputy, including engagement with the Department of Justice and Equality. I have also asked them to look at the wider issues of alignment of SUSI and free fees supports with immigration permissions, in collaboration with other relevant Departments, and provide advice to me on whether any changes are required.