At the end of January 2018, the minister for justice and equality in Ireland, Charlie Flanagan, signed an order lifting the visa requirement for Emiratis travelling to the country.
“These students…are extremely curious, willing to learn, polyglots, aware of cultural differences, open to change, and assimilate to new environments”
Flanagan said the removal of visa requirements is a very significant step which will facilitate Ireland’s growing trade, tourism and business relationships with the UAE.
He said it represented “a further strengthening of the strategically important relationship between the two countries” and will foster increased cooperation across areas including education.
“I am very pleased we have been able to lift the visa requirement for citizens of the UAE who wish to travel to Ireland and we look forward to welcoming increased numbers of Emirati business people, students and tourists who will travel to Ireland following the lifting of the visa requirement.”
The ambassador of Ireland to the UAE, Paul Kavanagh added: “This is a big day for developing ever closer ties between Ireland and the UAE in business, education and especially in tourism.”
The easing of visa restrictions for Emiratis serves to further strengthen Ireland’s relationship with the Middle East, after two Irish universities, a third level private college and Marketing English in Ireland visited Iran in November 2017.
The schools, University College Dublin, University of Limerick and Griffith College, which already host a number of Iranian students, met with agencies, representatives of colleges and the honorary consul of Ireland in Iran as part of the excursion.
The CEO of MEI David O’ Grady told The PIE News that it was an excellent introduction to the market in Iran and an opportunity to meet students with a strong desire to learn English.
“Iranian students are marvellous students, and universities long for more of them because they are giving and committed,” he added.
Trade representative at the Embassy of Ireland Abu Dhabi, Eamon Al Sikafi was also in attendance to meet with agents and gain a better understanding of how the recruitment works.
Sikafi told The PIE that the students he met were extremely well educated through self-funding and that Iran is a market Ireland needs to explore further.
“Most Iranians have bachelor degrees, it is the minimum requirement to get a job. When faced with unemployment, they hold themselves mutually accountable; getting another degree and learning a new language is top of their ventures,” he said.
“These students…are extremely curious, willing to learn, polyglots, aware of cultural differences, open to change, and assimilate to new environments.”