Frequently Asked Questions
Statement from Kinlay Group Ltd. regarding the appointment of joint liquidators to USIT Ireland Ltd. and the English Studio language school

Issued 27 March, 2020.

It is with great regret that the Board of Kinlay Group Ltd., which operates USIT Ireland Ltd. and The English Studio language school in Dublin, has announced that, as a result of the Covid-19 situation and having explored all other possible alternatives, it has had no option but to apply to the court to have a provisional liquidator appointed to these businesses. The Directors and Management are supporting the joint liquidators, Kieran Wallace and Andrew O’Leary of KPMG, in order to get the best outcome for creditors in this situation. A third business owned by Kinlay Group, Teach & Travel Group, which is based in Leeds, which provides online TEFL training, continues to trade normally and is unaffected by this decision.

USIT employs 76 people, across its Head Office in Dublin, and regional offices in Cork, Galway and Limerick. Staff have been informed of this difficult decision today.

The outcome for customers who have booked with USIT is uncertain but management will provide as much support as possible to help customers assess their options.

The English Studio, which employs 31 people in Ireland, closed its doors two weeks ago in compliance with Covid-19 measures for the education sector has also reached a position where it was no longer possible to trade as a result of the Covid-19 impacts, leaving the Kinlay Group no option but to apply to the court for the appointment of the liquidators.

Speaking about today’s announcement, David Andrews, Chairman of Kinlay Group, said “Only a short few weeks ago, both USIT and the English School were trading well and we had exciting plans for the future, but the tsunami of effects related to the Covid-19 pandemic have left us with no business whatsoever and no possibility of overcoming these challenges. We have working tirelessly for the last few weeks to find a solution to save these businesses and in that regard I wish to acknowledge the support of our bankers, Ulster Bank Limited. I and my fellow directors greatly regret having to take this step, but unfortunately, it was the only possible option at this time. We are committed to working closely with the liquidator now in order to get the best possible outcome for employees and customers.”

Elaine Russell, CEO of USIT, said “This is a very difficult day for our talented and passionate teams all of whom work so hard to create great experiences for our customers. The team and I are truly devasted at the impact this closure will have on all our customers who were either looking forward to trips they had booked for later this year with USIT or learning English with us at the English Studio.”

More information will be available for customers at www.usit.ie and on our social media channels over the coming days.

Ends

Frequently Asked Questions

06 April 2020

As you may be aware, USIT Ireland Limited ('USIT') entered Provisional Liquidation on 27 March 2020 and Kieran Wallace and Andrew O'Leary of KPMG were appointed Joint Provisional Liquidators.

Unfortunately, due to the insolvency of USIT, the Joint Provisional Liquidators are not in a position to pay any refunds to any category of customer or client. Within these FAQs we have set out various options for different customers in relation to proceeding with your travel plans or pursuing refunds.

Please click on the relevant travel product
School Tours 

I'm a teacher who has a school trip booked with you. Is that now cancelled and how do I make a claim?

If you have a tour/flight booked with USIT Ireland Limited as part of your School tour or Group Tour then you may be covered by the consumer protection scheme, in place with CAR. Please complete the CAR claim form with proof of your flight/package booking to make a claim for what you have paid to date.

CAR - USIT Travel Claim Form
Download CAR Claim Form

You must submit your claim form within 60 calendar days of the provisional liquidation of USIT which was Fri 27 March 2020. CAR will then let you know if your claim is covered by the consumer protection scheme. If your claim is covered by the scheme, CAR will then assess these claims to determine the amount due to you.

School Tour Leader If you collected the funds from all the students on the tour and paid it over to USIT then you can fill out one claim form. If this is the case, please also provide a full list of students with their contact details. This can be attached to the claim form. If you paid over a deposit on behalf of the group and afterwards each student paid the balance to USIT, then you need to fill out a claim form for the deposit you paid and each student needs to fill out a claim form separately for what they paid.

Parents: If students paid directly to USIT then a separate claim form is required for each person. All receipts must be attached to it.

For Northern Ireland USIT School and Group Tours customers, you must notify International Passenger Protection (IPP) as soon as practically possible giving full details of what has happened quoting USIT Ireland Limited as your Travel Operator and quoting Reference: TOFI CAR IRELAND V1.19. You must contact IPP through any of the following means:

Telephone: +31 103120666 Email: Insolvency-claims@ipplondon.co.uk or online at http://www.ipplondon.co.uk/claims.asp

Will the schools be able to claim on their insurance?
That will depend on their insurance policy, as these vary. You should check the policy and discuss it with your insurer.

USA Summer Programme - J1 USA, Camp USA or Coach Soccer USA

Can USIT still help me with my Summer travel plans?

It is extremely unlikely that summer programmes will go ahead this year given the scale of the COVID19 pandemic and resulting health risks. To date, no formal decision has been made by our US partners to cancel the programme. However, there are more severe restrictions now in place by both the US and Ireland and the US Embassy in Dublin remains closed so no visa paperwork can be processed. See the DFA website for travel advice.

https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/a-z-list-of-countries/united-states-of-america/

While USIT is in provisional liquidation, we have a team working on facilitating your travel plans through our partner network, or how to make a claim for a refund. Please bear with us and we will provide further information on this website shortly.

I want to proceed with my plans if possible. How do I contact your support team for assistance?

Please bear with us and we will be in touch with you when we have more information.

I want to cancel my Summer Programme plans. How do I make a claim?
See how to make a claim section.

If you are cancelling from the programme and have a US summer job/ camp placement confirmed, please contact your employer directly to let them know you are not continuing with your summer programme.

How can I make a claim?

  1. Consumer protection scheme via Commission for Aviation Regulation (CAR).

    You may be covered by the consumer protection scheme if you purchased a package from USIT Ireland Limited and this package includes travel.

    For customers who bought either travel alone or a travel package commencing in Ireland please complete the CAR claim form with proof of your flight/ package/ programme booking to apply for a refund on what you have paid to date.

    CAR will then assess these claims to determine the amount due to the claimant.

    You must submit your claim form within 60 calendar days of the provisional liquidation of USIT which was Friday 27 March 2020.

    CAR - USIT Travel Claim Form
    Download CAR Claim Form

    In order to complete the form please check your USIT Booking receipt which would have been emailed to you at time of booking. If you made multiple payments on your booking you would have received an updated invoice each time a payment was made.

    Unfortunately, no other customers are covered by the scheme. So, if you don't have a flight booked, we advise you to look at the charge back policy of your credit/debit card provider (see option 2 below) and/or any holiday insurance you may have in place.

  2. Through credit/debit card company

    Who does this apply to?

    All Customers with any service or product booked through Usit Ireland Ltd who are not covered by the scheme described above.

    If you have paid USIT by credit/debit card, you may be covered by the relevant card provider's charge back terms and conditions, and it is recommended that you pursue this option now. If you have paid for your booking with multiple different credit/debit cards you may need to submit a claim for each card used.

    'Chargeback' relates to disputed transactions, for example, when the supplier did not deliver the goods or services you paid for.

    Please check your USIT receipt which you received via email when you made your booking.

    Your bank may ask for a letter from CAR confirming that you are not entitled to a refund under CAR's scheme of protection. If this is the case, email TravelTrade@aviationreg.ie to request such a letter.

USA 1 Year Graduate Visa, Intern, Trainee Programme

I am in the US on my internship visa - is my visa still valid?
Yes, if you are in the US your visa is valid and your sponsor CIEE will continue to support you, but you need to update yourself with the latest DFA advice regarding returning home due to Covid 19 and the evolving situation in the US. See the DFA website for travel advice.

https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/a-z-list-of-countries/united-states-of-america/

I have booked a Grad / Intern / Trainee programme with USIT; will it go ahead?

Due to the scale of the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting health risks, it's very likely there will be considerable delays to the departure dates in the next 12 weeks for the Grad/ Intern/ Trainee programmes We are liaising with our sponsor on how you can travel later in the year and we hope to have further information for you shortly.

I want to proceed with my plans if possible. How do I contact your support team for assistance?

Please bear with us and we will be in touch with you when we have more information.

I don't wish to travel anymore. How do I apply for a claim?
See how to make a claim section.

Australia/ New Zealand & Canada Programmes

I have been issued with an approval/grant letter for the working holiday visa to Australia/New Zealand or a POE letter for the IEC visa to Canada. Is my Visa still valid?
Yes, if you have already received your approval or POE letter then your visa is valid for entry. Please keep in mind the length of time to enter all 3 countries & activate your visa is 12 months from date of issue.

My visa application is still in process, how will I know when a decision is made?
USIT will endeavour to provide all applications in process with an update on their status.

I don't wish to travel anymore. How do I apply for a claim?
See how to make a claim section.

Insurance

My Insurance policy is up for renewal either now or later this year, how can I get it renewed?  
You should contact Mapfre directly on traveldept@mapfre.com & quote your policy reference number. They will be able to assist you.

Does my Insurance cover me for USIT's liquidation?
Mapfre policies purchased through USIT do not provide cover on costs paid in the case of your travel agent going into liquidation. If you hold an alternative policy with another provider, you should check the details of the policy with your provider.

You may still be able to eligible for a refund through your Mapfre insurance policy if your claim relates to an insured reason.

Flights Only

I purchased my flight with you for later this year, can I still travel on this flight? I have already received my E-ticket.
Yes, your ticket is live & your flights have been paid for.

I purchased my flight with you for later this year, can I still travel on this flight? I have not received my E-ticket.
No, unfortunately you won't be able to travel on this flight. This may be covered under the scheme outlined at 1 above, so please complete and submit the claim form to CAR.

CAR - USIT Travel Claim Form
Download CAR Claim Form

You must submit your claim form within 60 calendar days of provisional liquidation of USIT which was Fri 27 March 2020. CAR will then assess these claims to determine the amount due to you.

Holidays / Adventure Tours / Packages

I have a holiday or other package booked with USIT, can I still travel?

You may be covered by the consumer protection scheme if you purchased a package from USIT Ireland Limited and this package includes travel. You may also be covered if you bought travel (alone) commencing in Ireland.

Check with your airline and with your accommodation provider to see if your tickets and/or accommodation are still valid and have been paid by USIT.

  1. If your airline says you can travel and if you have established your accommodation has been paid for, you can proceed with your travel plans.
  2. If your airline says you can travel, but you have established that your accommodation is not paid for by USIT, you can proceed with your travel plans, pay for your accommodation yourself and then submit a claim for refund of the original cost of your accommodation from CAR.
  3. If your airline says you cannot travel and your accommodation is not paid, you cannot proceed with your travel plans and you can submit a claim for your original costs back from CAR.

CAR will then assess these claims to determine the amount due to the claimant.

You must submit your claim form within 60 calendar days of the provisional liquidation of USIT which was Friday 27 March 2020.

CAR - USIT Travel Claim Form
Download CAR Claim Form

In order to complete the form please check your USIT Booking receipt which would have been emailed to you at time of booking.

GENERAL

I am already abroad participating on my work abroad programme, does this affect me?

No, you should have received all the documentation on the services purchased from USIT before you travelled. Should you need to renew or update your Mapfre Travel Insurance policy while abroad please email traveldept@mapfre.com for assistance.

I have an interrail pass?  Can I still travel on this?

If you have been issued your travel-pass then you can still travel using it once it is safe to start traveling in Europe again.

I purchased an IConnect or USIT Student card and it hasn't arrived. What should I do?

Please refer to option 2 above if you paid by credit/debit card for the IConnect or USIT Student card to apply for a refund.

I have more questions that are not answered above, what should I do?

If you have any more questions not related to the above, please email info@usit.ie.

Work in Ireland

What does this mean for my Work in Ireland programme now?

Unfortunately, due to the liquidation process of Usit Ireland Ltd, we are not in a position to deliver your Work in Ireland arrival services as USIT Ireland Limited has ceased to trade however we will be available to support you by phone/email over the next few weeks.

Am I entitled to a refund as I have not yet used the services and I am in Ireland?

No, unfortunately there is no recourse to part claim any refunds.

I am staying in the Work in Ireland accommodation property in Dublin – what happens now?

Please contact workinireland@usit.ie to get further information on your accommodation and we will be available to help.

I have luggage in storage in the Work in Ireland centre – when can I get it from the centre?

We are in contact with those who have luggage stored in the Work in Ireland centre to arrange for collection once it is safe to do so. We will be adhering to the Irish Government and HSE guidelines in this regard.  If have immediate concerns or are returning to your home country shortly and haven’t heard from us about your luggage please contact us workinireland@usit.ie to get further information

I am in Ireland on a work visa - is my visa still valid?

Yes, if you are in Ireland your visa is valid according to the dates on your visa/work authorisation documents.

Customers not yet departed their home country for Ireland

I am due to travel later in the year. What do I do now?

If you have booked a Work in Ireland programme with a partner agency in your home country, please liaise with them in the first instance.

If you have booked directly with Usit – you may submit a claim for a refund

  1. Through your Credit/debit card

    If you have paid USIT by credit/debit card, you may be covered by the relevant card provider's charge back terms and conditions, and it is recommended that you pursue this option now. If you have paid for your booking with multiple different credit/debit cards you may need to submit a claim for each card used.

    'Chargeback' relates to disputed transactions, for example, when the supplier did not deliver the goods or services you paid for.

    Please check your USIT receipt which you received via email when you made your booking.

  2. Insurance

    Does my Insurance cover me for a refund for Usit Ireland’s liquidation?

    Envisage Global Insurance policies purchased through USIT do not provide cover on costs paid in the case of your travel agent going into liquidation. If you hold an alternative policy with another provider, you should check the details of the policy with your provider.

    You may still be able to eligible for a refund through your Envisage insurance policy if your claim relates to an insured reason.

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