A PRIVATE college in Limerick has “nothing to hide” arising from an investigation by immigration officials that has seen restrictions imposed on overseas students, its owner has said.
Glen Anderson said Limerick City College was appealing a decision by the Department of Justice to suspend its non-EU students from registering with the Garda National Immigration Bureau.
The Department said the suspension had arisen following a review by Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS). That review concerned a business course accredited by Birmingham City University.
“The main issue in the case was the fact that large numbers of students enrolled at Limerick City College as pursing a degree programme accredited by Birmingham City University, and who obtained immigration status on that basis, were never registered with the university and could not have sat any examinations. Only a small minority of these degree programme students ever sat an exam. This emerged through contacts between INIS and Birmingham City University,” the Department stated.
Mr Anderson said the difficulty arose from the “two-stage process” of students having to enrol in Limerick and also to register with Birmingham for exam purposes.
“It is the students who are responsible for their registration and their exam and this is what we are trying to resolve,” he said.
Mr Anderson said the situation at Limerick City College, which is based at the Parkway Shopping Centre, should in no way be compared to private schools in Dublin that are closing down after a crackdown by the Department.
“We support the government in terms of their commitment to regulating the sector and we agree with what they are doing. We want to work with them. We think they should review and investigate all institutions,” Mr Anderson said.
But there was no question of the doors closing at Limerick City College, he said.
“We strongly deny any wrongdoing” and the college was “engaging with the Department” in seeking to have the suspension lifted and the matter resolved, he added.
Mr Anderson estimated there were 300 to 350 students who required visas to study in Limerick but said this was only one strand to the business, which also provides grinds and supervised study for Leaving Cert students as well as training.