As part of their application for an approved English program at an Irish institution, overseas students looking to study will be able to take the Skills for English: SELT or Skills for English: Global tests.
These will form part of their application and will give part-time work rights to students who are successful, allowing them to expand their portfolio during their time in Ireland.
A representative for Skills for English told The PIE News: There are currently around 32k international students in Irish universities; our aim is to help as high a proportion as possible over the comings months and years, and also help to grow total students numbers through our international partners.”
“Being accepted for study visa purposes in Ireland is a key strategic pillar for Skills for English,” said the president of PSI, Janet Garcia upon the announcement.
“It will afford international students even greater accessibility to one of the top destination markets globally for English language teaching and higher education,” she remarked.
The approval comes at a crucial time for Ireland’s international student recruitment community; numbers have grown by 26% in the last three years.
It also follows Duolingo’s English Test being made a permanent offering as a minimum English language standard for Irish study visas in December.
The Irish immigration department’s decision to “expand the options available” is “ideal”, according to PSI.
“The key for us is candidate choice – having the SELT contract with UKVI meant we already had a network of highly secure and trusted test centres; together with SQA, we were able to quickly develop SfE: Global by using the same academic infrastructure and assurance that SQA awarded our SELT qualifications while leveraging PSI’s industry-leading online proctoring solution,” the representative said.
“This resulted in our being able to offer candidates the choice of secure, test centre experiences and/or secure, at-home experiences, with both modes of delivery being accepted for study in Ireland.”
“The Irish government joins the UK government in recognising the quality of the assessment on offer and gives higher and further education institutions confidence that their applicants have the necessary English language skills and knowledge to succeed in the next stage of their education,” said John McMorris, director of business development at the Scottish Qualifications Authority.
“Being accepted for study visa purposes in Ireland is a key strategic pillar”
He also remarked that it builds on a “successful relationship” between the authority and PSI, and that it is a “significant development”.
“This is just another vote of confidence in the Skills for English language test,” he added.
Garcia echoed the sentiment, remarking that the move cements Skills for English as a “suite of trusted, high-stakes tests for international visa and study purposes”.
“Together with our network of partner agents and preparation providers, we are working tirelessly to help students reach their goals of studying and living abroad.
“Recognition of Skills for English by the Irish government will undoubtedly be of great benefit to many thousands of students over the coming years,” added Garcia.