Housing fraudsters target international students in Ireland

International students in Ireland are more likely to be conned when it comes to finding accommodation than those studying in any other EU country.

A new study carried out by HousErasmus+ found that 29 percent of international students in Ireland were defrauded through methods like fake housing advertisements on social media and being asked for a deposit in return for a key to be delivered by post.

This was over double the 12 per cent average derived from interviews with 8,000 international students who had attended 600 institutions across Europe.

Accommodation costs in Ireland were also found to be higher than expected. The study found that 77 per cent of overseas students found housing priced higher than they expected, as opposed to an average of 43 per cent across all countries.

A combination of two related factors is undoubtedly leading to the problems being experienced some students in the country.

The first is the country’s serious deficit in available housing for students, especially in capital Dublin – the main city of interest for international students. The second is the Irish government’s desire to attract more foreign students, which is adding more pressure on the already struggling housing sector.

The Irish Council for International Students has expressed concern over the study’s findings.

Its Director, Sheila Power, has said the results are “hardly compatible with our international education strategy to increase international student numbers by 27% over the next couple of years”.

Ms Power said a collaborative effort was needed involving Government, city planners, and higher education institutions to address the issues which the research identified.

Erasmus is an EU-funded programme which enables students to spend time studying in foreign universities and institutes.

Article published 29th March 2017