Graduate Permit Scheme extended: working visas for international Masters and PhD students now valid for 2 years post-graduation.

International student flags for studying and working in Ireland

The permit extension is of huge benefit to both students and employers (Image:

A welcome recent development for both international students and graduate employers is the news that the Irish Government has agreed to extend the Third Level Graduate Permit Scheme, for non-EU/EEA students at level 9 and above.

The new permission will double the ‘stay back option’ for Masters and PhD students from 12 months to 24 months. This will allow eligible graduates who have studied in Irish higher education institutions, and whose award is granted by a recognised Irish awarding body at Masters or PhD level, to remain in Ireland for two years to seek employment.

The Graduate Permit Scheme allows these non-EU graduates to stay in Ireland for 2 years after their degree and legally work for 40 hours per week.

For some employment sectors the restriction of the working period post-graduation to one year has been a disincentive to hiring international students. The extension of this eligibility for work for highly qualified students from 12 to 24 months, whilst on the Graduate Permit Scheme, is to be welcomed both in the context of the skills gap and the employability journey for postgraduate students emerging from Irish HEIs.

For more on working in Ireland for international students (from outside the EU) from gradireland, watch our videos here


6 Comments on “Graduate Permit Scheme extended: working visas for international Masters and PhD students now valid for 2 years post-graduation.”

  1. biotexpert says:

    Is this scheme applicable to ones graduated last year or in 2016?

    • gradireland says:

      Sincere apologies for the delay in replying. I would anticipate that it only applies for 2016/17 forward, however we’re still waiting for clarity on this from the Department. I would think that your previous University may have the inside track on any news on this, but we will endeavour to find out ourselves and update the post.


      Ruairi Kavanagh

  2. Katie Fox says:

    This is great news!!! Is there any information on when the extension will be available for non-EU graduates? I am a U.S. citizen in Ireland on the current scheme, and my permission expires in September 2017. Can I apply for the extension through 2018 now? If not now, when will I be able to apply for the extension?

    Thank you!

    • gradireland says:

      We are still waiting for the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform to clarify the parameters of the scheme as it is currently unclear as to when the extension will come into force and if it applies to graduates in the 2016/17 academic year. I would envisage it will apply to permits expiring in 2017. You University will be able to provide you with the full details.

      Yours sincerely,

      Ruairi Kavanagh

  3. gradireland says:

    As far as we are aware this applies to currrent Stamp 1G holders, but for full details please contact the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service