Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP)
This list is subject to change from time to time. It is likely that in the initial stages of a new ILEP some minor adjustments will be necessary in any event and some providers will be required to make adjustments to certain programmes.
The fact that a provider and courses are listed on the ILEP means that in accordance with Ireland’s student immigration policy, attendance at that college in respect of one of their listed full time courses on the ILEP is an eligible purpose for a non-EEA national coming to Ireland. That is of course subject to the normal immigration controls and case by case consideration of individual immigration applications. The ILEP does not guarantee the quality of the institution but if a provider is listed on the ILEP in respect of courses they will have met certain criteria including the mandatory provision of learner protection in respect of enrolled non-EEA students. For the English language sector a maximum class size of 15 students applies to all ILEP listed providers and they must also have demonstrated that their teaching staff are properly qualified. As with any consumer purchase of goods or services students should assess what is on offer, the reputation of the institution and its facilities and be aware that the lowest price may not necessarily be the best deal.
For all institutions their listing on the ILEP is contingent on their ongoing compliance with immigration rules and continuing to meet the other conditions set down for listing on the ILEP. The policy changes associated with the ILEP introduced more consistent standards. This includes unannounced inspections, spot checks and other monitoring. Examinations are now a compulsory element of the student programme and all students will be required to be registered for the examinations. Providers who breach the requirements or engage in immigration abuse are liable to be removed from the ILEP.
It should be noted that, as per the ILEP guidelines, providers must immediately inform, and not later than 5 working days, the Department of Justice and Equality of any changes to ownership, shareholdings, directorships, or governance and / or of any change to its status since its last application. Failure to do so, or the provision of false or misleading information, may result in removal of all programmes of the provider from the Interim List.
Immigration Arrangements for Language Students
As set out in the Government Policy Statement in May 2015, the standard immigration permission available for the purposes of pursuing an English language programme on the ILEP is 8 months. Since 1 January 2015 students holding a valid immigration stamp 2 are permitted to work 40 hours per week during the months of June, July, August and September and from 15 December to 15 January inclusive. At all other times they will be limited to working 20 hours per week.
In line with the Government decision of 19 May 2015 a series of reforms to the student immigration system for international education were implemented, including introducing the Interim List of Eligible Programmes (ILEP). This interim measure was expected to be in place for a short period of time pending the introduction of the International Education Mark (IEM). However, as the IEM has not been introduced in 2016 as originally anticipated, the Departments of Justice and Equality and Education and Skills have decided to extend the ILEP into 2017. It should be noted that the ILEP was, and continues to be, a mechanism for identifying programmes eligible for the purpose of recruiting non-EEA students and is not a quality assurance process and nor should listing on the ILEP be represented as engagement with a quality assurance process.
In order to ensure the ILEP is fit-for-purpose for this extended lifespan, a review of the guidelines for inclusion of programmes (both Higher Education and Professional and English Language) was necessary and updated criteria and application forms are available below. Providers are advised to review the updated criteria, particularly providers submitting an application for new programmes. Applications will only be accepted on the new application form. While the substantive elements of the criteria remain unchanged, items to be noted in the updated criteria include the following:
- Providers are required to provide monthly reconciliation reports on the client visa accounts they operate for advance payments dependent on the visa process
- Providers must provide monthly returns on student exam registration in the form published below
- Providers of English language programmes are required to include information on teacher qualifications at the point of application. Please refer to Appendix A of the relevant application form in this regard.
Any queries relating to the ILEP criteria and / or application process should be directed to email@example.com
English Language Programme
Higher Education and Professional Programmes
ILEP Application CyclesCurrent application cycle
The details of the current application cycle are as follows:
- Application cycle opens 09 January 2017
- Application cycle closes 27 January 2017
- ILEP update published 14 March 2017*
*Please be advised that due to technical issues the March ILEP update will take place on 16 March 2017.
August application cycle
The details of the August application cycle are as follows:
- Application cycle opens 26 June 2017
- Application cycle closes 30 June 2017
- ILEP update published 24 August 2017
*Please note that only complete applications will be accepted; incomplete applications will be returned. Providers should not submit an application until the next application cycle opens. Any applications received before the next application cycle opens will be returned.
Information on the application process
All providers are advised to carefully consider the guidelines and application form before submitting an application. Incomplete applications will be returned.
Where a completed application is unsuccessful a provider will be afforded an opportunity to make an appeal which will be considered by a more senior official. If a provider wishes to appeal the refusal of the application, they must submit an appeal within 5 working days of being notified of the decision to refuse. It is not intended that a lengthy appeal period will apply and where a provider does not submit details of an appeal in good time the Department of Justice and Equality may refuse an appeal and deem an application refused. This is without prejudice to the right of the provider to re-apply for inclusion in the Interim List in a future application cycle.
Providers should provide a hard copy application including all supporting documentation to:Interim List of Eligible Programmes 5th Floor INIS 13/14 Burgh Quay Dublin 2
*Please note it will not be possible for this Office to deal with any queries by phone therefore all queries should be submitted to the e-mail address above. The priority for INIS will be to deal with complete application forms therefore providers are urged to review the notes available.
As set out in the English language criteria , revised holiday arrangements have been introduced in conjunction with the ILEP update. The guidelines stipulate in particular that front loading of holidays will not be permitted.
Expulsion of English language Students - Guidelines for Providers December 2015
INIS has become aware of issues surrounding the expulsion of non-EEA students for non attendance at courses. In the interests of students and providers the following guidelines have been drawn up.
ILEP Requirements on Absenteeism and Expulsion
The existing guidelines to providers seeking inclusion on the Interim List of Eligible Programmes state the following.
*Absenteeism and Expulsion: The policy and procedure must describe the steps which are taken and by whom in the case of an absent student. It must be clear at which point in this procedure that steps for expulsion of the student are activated and by whom; all standard correspondence as part of this process must be retained and be available on request to relevant internal personnel and external authorities. Absenteeism and expulsion procedures must be implemented in a timely manner, i.e. the disciplinary action must follow immediately after the absenteeism issue has been identified by management. It is not acceptable that non-EEA students are expelled towards the end of their programmes in relation to issues identified at an earlier point in the programme.”
However this does not prescribe the policy to be adopted other than the fact that disciplinary action should be taken in a timely manner and that the process is fully documented.
A non-EEA student is a consumer and entitled to protection as such. The student is also a person who has obtained immigration permission on the basis that they are attending a course of study. If they are not attending their classes then their immigration status is liable to be revoked. They are also receiving a service that is delivered to a classroom of other consumers. It is the nature of a classroom that students are interdependent and should progress together. The progress of those attending regularly cannot be unduly disrupted to cater for bringing a student who has been missing classes up to speed with his or her classmates.
In the circumstances it is legitimate for a college to operate an expulsion policy provided that the policy is fair to the student and is outlined clearly to that student before they enrol.
- The disciplinary system which may ultimately lead to expulsion must be clearly laid out in writing, including the issue of forfeiture of fees
- It should be communicated to the student in a language that he or she can reasonably be expected to understand
- Save in the case of most serious events, e.g. where the student has engaged in violent conduct against the staff or fellow students, it must be progressive with the student receiving a number of warnings before the expulsion step is taken
- The student should have recourse to some form of appeal or review
Attendance Requirements under the ILEP
Under the ILEP the following attendance requirements have been set out for English Language Students.
*Providers offering English language programmes which are eligible for inclusion in the Interim List must:
1. enrol a maximum of no more than 15 students per class, i.e. each student is enrolled for the duration of the programme and registered for a specific class. Students cannot change classes during the course, or attend any classes other than the one for which they are registered for the duration of the programme;
2. have mandatory attendance requirements of a minimum 85% attendance for all enrolled students. The system of taking and recording attendance must be documented and publicly available. Where a student has 25% or more uncertified absence in the first six weeks of their programme, this must be communicated to the GNIB and INIS. Where a student cannot make up attendance to a minimum of 85% before the programme ends the student must be informed that they do not meet the attendance requirements and this fact will be communicated to the GNIB and INIS. There is no mechanism permitted whereby students can make up an uncertified absence(s) through additional classes, either during or post the end of the programme;”
It should be noted that the 85% attendance requirement is over the length of the course rather than on a per week or per month basis and a certain amount of leeway is permissible for the student in line with the above guidelines.
The most important element in addressing non attendance is that it be communicated without delay to the Immigration authorities (GNIB and INIS). This applies whether or not the Provider is seeking an ILEP listing and irrespective of the disciplinary/expulsion policy in place.
The following practices are absolutely forbidden
- Seeking payment from students in return for altering their attendance records or not notifying the immigration authorities of non attendance (any student faced with such a demand should report it immediately and confidentially to the immigration authorities).
- Using premature expulsion as a means of freeing up more classes for future enrolment.
Policy Statement on International Education
The policy statement on International Education which led to the introduction of the ILEP can be accessed below:
Updated 16 March 2017