English students who paid cash to travel agency fear losing legal status

ENGLISH-LANGUAGE STUDENTS who handed cash to a specialist student travel agency at the center of a Garda fraud investigation say they fear losing their legal status in Ireland as a result of the alleged scam.

The newspaper Last week, Gardaí suspected that at least € 250,000 in student money had been obtained by company directors, who have since left jurisdiction and are believed to have traveled to Mexico.

Gardaí has ​​launched an investigation into the alleged fraud and in recent days the issue has also been raised with the Minister of Justice by a labor TD.

The travel agency, which had operated in Ireland for several years, served as an intermediary for prospective English language students traveling to Ireland and offered a range of services including obtaining visas, enrolling students in courses and finding accommodation for them.

The English Language Students ‘Union (ELSU), which works to support students who have lost their pocket, says the company simply took students’ money and did not get visas or give them away. enrolled in courses.

This website has seen several emails to potential students of English schools in Dublin telling them that no payment has been made to the school by the agency in question.

The newspaper also spoke with some of the affected students – many of whom now have strong ties to the communities here and who say they risk living illegally in Ireland if something is not done.


English language students in Ireland can apply for what is known as a Stamp 2 visa which allows them to both work and study in Ireland. However, their stay in Ireland depends on the continuation of their studies.

School attendance rates are linked to visas. If a student attends less than 85% of class, they risk having their visa canceled.

A woman, who is pregnant, used the company at the center of the investigation to renew her visa – she had already been in Ireland for some time and had taken courses here. She previously used the same company without any issues, she said.

While they planned to continue their stay here, she and her partner made requests through the company to renew their visas and apply for other courses.

The school the woman thought she was enrolled in informed her that she had no record of her enrollment and that no money had been returned to the school.

“I am pregnant, in a country where I have to make do with my immigration papers so as not to have problems with my baby,” the woman said. The company had taken advantage of her situation, she said, and had given him no answer as to what had happened with the money she had paid on behalf of her family.

Another woman described how she saved for five years to be able to live and work in Ireland. The woman, originally from Bolivia and having already taken English classes here, said she paid the equivalent of € 2,500 to be able to continue studying here and renew her enrollment at the school and update her visa.

Similar to the first story, the woman learned that she was enrolled in a specific school and that all the administration regarding her visa had been done.

When she tried to contact the school, she was told that she had no record of her.

“For years, I saved and saved to be able to go here. My friends had used this same business before and had no problems. But now I have lost everything.

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The newspaper has agreed not to name the students involved because victims of the alleged fraud fear they will be reported to immigration services.

The ELSU has been in contact with the Justice Department regarding the alleged fraud.

Labor’s Education spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin also wrote to the justice minister asking if she would grant all non-EU students already in the state who were victims of the alleged fraud two free visas of eight month.

No response was received yesterday afternoon, Dublin Bay North TD reported.

Gardaí north of Dublin is investigating and liaising with his Mexican colleagues.

A spokesperson confirmed that investigations into multiple fraud allegations are ongoing.

He said: “Gardaí is investigating a number of fraud incidents that occurred in the Dublin area between March 2020 and June 2021.

“No arrests have been made, investigations are ongoing.”

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