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Scheme for Accreditation of Research Organisations (Hosting Agreement Scheme)

The Third Country Researchers Directive (Council Directive 2005/71/EC) provides for a fast track procedure (Hosting Agreement) for admitting third-country nationals, (i.e. persons from countries outside of the European Economic Area) for a period of between three months to five years, to carry out a research project with an accredited research institution

They will not require a separate work permit.  The procedure for accreditation of research organisations is managed by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. 

Once accredited, research organisations may issue Hosting Agreements to third country researchers directly – Hosting Agreements will not require to be vetted by the Department. The Irish Universities Association (IUA) manages the day to day operation of the scheme on behalf of the Department and maintains a database of all Hosting Agreements issued by the research organisations, which is directly linked to the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB).

Further information on the scheme is available below, and also from the Euraxess Ireland Mobility portal based in the IUA. Euraxess Ireland provides a range of advisory services for mobile researchers and is linked to a chain of Euraxess portals across 40 countries in the EU and Associated Countries. Accreditation under the scheme is normally made for a period of 5 years, but may be renewed for a further period of 5 years on the basis of a signed letter confirming continuing compliance with the criteria of the scheme.  (W.18 (2) form refers.)

The European Commission’s 2007 Green Paper entitled “The European Research Area: New Perspectives” set out six objectives, or “pillars,” for the achievement of the ERA, namely:

Third Country Researchers Directive

  • An adequate flow of competent researchers;
  • World-class research infrastructures;
  • Excellent research institutions;
  • Effective knowledge-sharing;
  • Well-coordinated research programmes and priorities;
  • A wide opening of the European Research Area to the world.

Council Directive 2005/EC/71 (Third Country Researchers Directive) is designed to address Pillar 1 – An adequate flow of competent researchers with high levels of mobility between institutions, disciplines, sectors and countries. The purpose of the Directive is to facilitate the admission of third country researchers to EU Member States for the purpose of carrying out research. Ireland’s ability to attract high quality researchers has been a key element of our national strategy over the past few years. Although not a party to the Schengen Agreement and therefore not bound by the Directive, Ireland formally opted into the Third Country Researchers Directive, which was implemented by the Department of Justice in cooperation with this Department in October 2007. 

The entry of third country researchers and their families into Ireland for research purposes was previously governed through the Green Card work permit system, now Critical Skills Employment Permit administered by the Employment Permits Section of the Department. Researchers are included in the eligible categories of employment for Critical Skills Employment Permit purposes.

Third country researchers or host institutions, as the case may be, continue to have the option of applying for Critical Skills Employment Permit Critical Skills Employment Permit or work permits.

The Scheme of Accreditation (Hosting Agreement Scheme) established (in October, 2007) under the Third Country Researchers Directive introduced an alternative mechanism for entry into Ireland of researchers who come within the scope of the Directive. Existing visa rules continue to apply, i.e. visas are required for citizens of certain countries to enter Ireland. 

Further information on the scheme is available from the Euraxess Ireland Mobility portal based in the IUA. Euraxess Ireland provides a range of advisory services for mobile researchers and is linked to a chain of Euraxess portals across 40 countries in the EU and Associated Countries. Accreditation under the scheme is normally made for a period of 5 years, but may be renewed for a further period of 5 years on the basis of a signed letter confirming continuing compliance with the criteria of the scheme.  

 

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