The Irish government is set to clamp down on international students who attempt to over stay their visas. Starting January 2011 the Department of Justice intends to impose strict regulations regarding the length of time foreign students can remain in Ireland.

Currently there are almost 33,000 students from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) paying fees for Higher education in Ireland. The new immigration regime aims to reform entry requirements and will impose safeguards to prevent the abuse of the system.

The new regulations were announced on Wednesday as part of a new government led strategy aimed at expanding international student numbers and generating €1.2 billion annual earnings.

The key targets included in the strategy for 2015 include;

    * Increase overall international student numbers by 50% to 38,000.
    * Boost the number of English language students by 25% to 120,000.
    * Increase the proportion of full-time international students in higher  education   undertaking research or taught postgraduate   programs to 35%, from 23% currently.

Speaking at the launch, the Prime Minister said "Our aim is for Ireland to be regarded as a world-leading provider of international education.  This strategy and new student immigration regime sets out a shared vision for how Ireland can compete to the highest international standards and recruit talented students from overseas."