Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Equality, Immigration and Integration Fiona O’Loughlin TD has raised concern over the treatment of second level students in Direct Provision who wish to progress to third level.

Currently young asylum seekers face a number of barriers when attempting to enter third level education. The students have to be resident in Ireland for at least five years, but this means that many young people who have been forced to flee conflict over the last five years are unable to continue their education while in Ireland.

Deputy O’Loughlin said, “The previous Government announced that it would ease the barriers of entry for asylum seekers who are seeking to progress to third level education in Ireland. Since September 2015 young asylum seekers are entitled to access third level education in the same way as Irish students. However this is on condition that the student has been resident in Ireland for at least five years prior to entering third level.

“The presence of this pre-condition means that young people fleeing conflict in deeply divided countries such as Ukraine, Syria and Libya are unable to access third level education in Ireland as they have only entered the country in the last five years. Considering these asylum seekers have overcome the challenge of sitting their Leaving Certificate, it seems only reasonable to enable them to progress to third level to allow them continue with their education. The residency requirement should be reduced from five years to three years, as is the case for Irish students.

“Young people fleeing conflict should not have to give up on their dream of pursing third level education,” concluded Deputy O’Loughlin.