The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) today voted to lobby the government to provide additional supports to “students of international mobilities” who have to quarantine upon arriving in Ireland.
The motion passed by USI Congress, which took place virtually this week.
USI Vice President for Equality and Citizenship Marie Lyons spoke in favour of the motion, saying: “International students are being milked for everything they are worth”.
International students, Lyons said, were already being used to “prop up” higher education in Ireland, and students who travelled to Ireland to study “have little access to supports” for when they enter mandatory quarantine.
The motion states that USI’s vice presidents for academic affairs, equality and citizenship and postgraduate affairs will work alongside the president of NUS-USI to “lobby for the introduction of practical and financial supports” for quarantining students “to address the barriers associated with mandatory quarantine”.
It also states: “Congress notes with concern the disproportionate impact that this cost will have on international students travelling to Ireland, North and South, to pursue both undergraduate and postgraduate studies and research, and domestic students returning from Erasmus+ and other international mobility programs.”
“Congress believes it’s vital that students returning from international mobilities or arriving for undergraduate or postgraduate study are not financially, emotionally or socially disadvantaged by the introduction of mandatory quarantine and that supports are offered to ensure they incur no additional costs as a result of this policy.”
Those in mandatory quarantine must pay €1,875 to stay in a hotel, or they can face a fine of €2,000 or a prison sentence.
Speaking in favour of the motion, Ana Canizares of TU Dublin Students’ Union said that the present arrangements for hotel quarantine sent a message of: “If you don’t have the money, tough.”
The countries on the mandatory quarantine list are “subject to change in very short notice”, she added, which “creates a situation of uncertainty”.
Earlier today, Congress elected the USI executive team for the upcoming academic year. Clare Austick, the union’s current vice president for welfare, was elected president. Austick ran uncontested for the position.