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International students in Ireland say they are dealing with an accommodation crisis, with many of them being subject to scamming from landlords on the island.
According to a survey by the Irish Council for International Students, there were 465 participant foreign students that were dealing with an accommodation crisis in the country, with some of those even sleeping in the car, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
“Sleeping in a car isn’t the most comfortable thing to do, and it can get quite cold but stressing about rent is worse,” an undergraduate student from Bangladesh said.
Findings from the survey show that a tenth of international students claimed it took more than three months to find accommodation in Ireland. In addition, two-thirds of those surveyed revealed they suffered from mental health due to the accommodation crisis, while another 14 per cent admitted they had been a victim of scams related to accommodation. Of those, 63 per cent were female students.
Furthermore, 20 per cent of respondents said they shared a room with more than two people. Moreover, an Indian postgraduate student revealed she had to live with 16 people at one point, all sharing one kitchen and three bathrooms.
A person that came from Mexico to learn English in Ireland confessed to living with 20 people and only three bathrooms, while the facility had rats, and another student from Costa Rica complained that sometimes landlords approach the situations with sexual harassment in exchange for low-cost rent.
“The pace of progress is too slow when it comes to building purpose-built student accommodation. Ireland needs a clear student accommodation strategy and international education strategy that focuses on ensuring that students who study here have a safe, affordable place to live,” Laura Harmon, executive director of the Irish Council for International Students, noted.
She also pointed out that the Government’s National Student Accommodation Strategy 2017-2024 hasn’t been reviewed since 2019, and it is clearly not efficient, as students complain of limited accommodation spots or being scammed.
The accommodation crisis isn’t common only among international students, as Harmon says. She revealed that Ukrainian refugees had to sleep in Dublin Airport because there was nowhere they could stay due to the country’s housing crisis. Approximately, there were 160,000 vacant houses and apartments across the country during the Census 2022.
While pointing out the urgent need to address the issue, Harmon called on the Government to provide more affordable housing in rural and urban areas and pointed out that such a situation is affecting Ireland’s reputation as a study destination for foreign students.