Foreign students in Ireland are facing serious financial distress. They have been told all the nice stories about this country, and have chosen to come here with the promise that it would take them two to three weeks to find a job to sustain themselves.
How can any country where young people emigrate every day and where youth unemployment averages around 25% claim that foreign students will find a job within three weeks? It used to be the case that these students would find work at the university, that is still the case in other European countries, but not here.
I know one non-European student who skips meals, and is behind on rent, because he believed the story that he would find work very soon. All his savings have gone, he has nothing left. He told me all of his fellow compatriots who came to Ireland to study are facing the same problem.
He has looked for jobs without success relentlessly since this summer. The only work he could find was leaflet distribution, where he walks around posting junk mail for hours in exchange for a very small amount of money, which often isn’t paid weekly as promised, and might not be paid at all, as happened to some people without papers, who can’t complain because they are not allowed to work.
The story that sold the Irish universities to these students is misleading to say the least, the exploitation by dodgy employers is criminal.
What can we do to help these students?