The inability to get an appointment with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) is now preventing numerous post-graduate students in UCD from receiving scholarships and remuneration for work done. The GNIB which has been having all of its available appointments booked out as soon as they become available by bots to then be sold online for a profit to those in need of them. This has resulted in several students and post-graduate students being unable to renew their visas or receive residency permits upon arrival, requirements for them to work or study in the country.

One post-graduate Robert ‘Bob’ Smith noted that the appointments with the bureau are released each day at 10 am for three months from the day and that it took him more than three weeks of loading the page every day to get an appointment. Even then, Smith says it was just luck that he got an appointment as he took the place of someone who dropped their appointment in advance.

Without visas or residency permits students who arrive at UCD from outside the EU are unable to have payments to them processed for legal reasons. It also means that in theory that they are unable to work in Ireland until the paperwork is processed, those this has been ignored by nearly all affected in UCD. According to sources, the payment owed to these post-graduates in UCD is being held in escrow for them, to be paid out once the issue is resolved, those some have raised concerns about this process as all of these students were not meant to be working while the paperwork was being processed.

It has also meant that payments of research grants and scholarships, many of which were arranged in advance of students or researchers arrivals have not been paid out. This has placed certain students under considerable financial strain.

Given the amount of work that is undertaken by post-graduate students across campus, from running tutorials to grading exams, coupled with the restrictions often placed on them working other jobs off campus while on certain grants, there exists a possibility that this could result in certain students leaving campus and leaving their studies behind.

The current estimated waiting time for an appointment with the GNIB is three months.