Number of international students studying English in Ireland passes 100,000

The sector was said to be worth €278.3m last year

English language, students, Ireland, Marketing English in Ireland, MEI, EU, David O'Grady

Image: Facebook/Marketing English in Ireland

New figures show the numbers of international English language students studying in Ireland have risen by 10%.

The Marketing English in Ireland (MEI) says 107,129 students were studying here in 2015, up from 97,610 in 2014.

It says there was strong growth across all parts of the sector - with significant increases in students from Asia.

Of the total number attending MEI schools, approximately 78,000 students (73%) came from the the European Union/EEA region.

While some 18,500 students came from the non-EU/EEA regions, where no visas were required, e.g. Brazil, Japan and South Korea.

The remaining 10,300 students came from places where visas are required, e.g. Russia, Saudi Arabia and China.

The 107,129 students, on average, spent over six weeks here.

Students coming to Ireland from the European Union stayed for just over two and a half weeks.

Students from outside the European Union, who are not required to have a visa, stayed on average just over 18 weeks and students who are required to have a visa stayed for just under 11 weeks.

Estimates from the MEI indicate that the total fees paid by international language students in 2015 was €278.3m - which covered student fees, accommodation and travel.

According to David O'Grady CEO of MEI: "The international education sector in Ireland is highly regulated and the figures in this report from MEI show that it contributes significantly to the Irish domestic economy".

"In addition, the majority of students are staying with host families as part of their language and cultural experience".

"Student safety is paramount and all of the teachers, all of the host families and all personnel involved with the education of the students have to undergo garda vetting procedures".