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Hosting Agreements

EU Council Directive 2005/71/EC - Admission of Third Country Researchers to Ireland through a Hosting Agreement


The Third Country Directive puts in place an alternative mechanism other than employment permits (work permits and green cards) for entry into Ireland of researchers to accredited institutions. TCD has been approved as an Accredited Research Institution with permission to issue Hosting Agreements to Third Country Researchers.

Full details of the scheme are available at:

The advantages of the Hosting Agreements over other employment permits are:

  • Agreements are issued by Human Resources and do not need to be approved by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation therefore reducing the turnaround to issuing greatly
  • There is no charge for a Hosting Agreement
  • They will allow for immediate family reunification, provided certain criteria are met
  • They will last for the duration of the employment contract (from 3 months to 5 years)
  • The researcher will be eligible to apply for residency (Stamp 4) after two years continuous employment under a Hosting Agreement
  • As agreements are being issued by Human Resources, we have put in place a number of security measures to ensure the validity of the process.

We envisage that once all paperwork has been received by Human Resources, Hosting Agreements will be issued within 10 - 15 working days. Some factors beyond our control may impact that timeframe however, HR will do its best to mitigate any negative impact on the processing time.

Important points to note

  • A Hosting Agreement is only valid when issued with an employment contract and for work being carried out by the researcher physically in Ireland. Researchers working abroad will not be issued a Hosting Agreement for that time as it does not provide right to work in any other country.
  • The Researcher must have sufficient monthly resources to meet their expenses and return travel costs "without recourse to the Member States' social assistance system". The salary threshold for Hosting Agreement holders having single status (researchers without dependants in Ireland) is currently €23,181 per annum. The minimum salary for researchers with dependent(s) is €30,000 per annum.
  • The Hosting Agreement does not take the place of a visa or registration with the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB). The College cannot assist in the securing of visas and, if necessary, a visa must be secured before travelling. Equally, researchers with a hosting agreement must register upon arrival and annually with their local GNIB office.
  • All hosting agreements issued will be given a unique identifier and registered through the Researchers Mobility Office of the IUA with the Office of Science Technology and innovation, Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation.  This database will be accessible by immigration officers.
  • Upon early termination of the researchers' employment contract, they must return their hosting agreement to Human Resources. This is the responsibility of both the researcher and their PI to inform Human Resources of the early termination of the contract.
  • If a Hosting Agreement has been issued and it transpires that the researcher will no longer be taking up the position offered, it is the duty of the PI to inform Human Resources of the same to ensure the Hosting Agreement is cancelled.
  • Hosting agreements can only be issued to researchers – Research Assistants and Research Fellows. We have been advised that they cannot be issued to non-research staff working on research projects or Academics whose principal role is as a lecturer.

New Employees

Principal Investigators intending to employ a third country researcher must fill out a nomination form as previously. The nomination form should clearly indicate that the employee will need a hosting agreement, and email contact details for the employee and the PI.

The application form requires detailed information concerning the research project and the PI will be required to furnish this. The employee will also be required to complete aspects of the form and supply identification documentation and photographs.

Once all of the paperwork has been received, the hosting agreement and employment contract will be couriered to the employee to assist with securing a visa (if the researcher is from a country requiring one).

Please note: Although the Hosting Agreement process is considerably faster, due to tighter immigration controls, especially to visa-required nationals, sufficient notice must be given for both Hosting Agreement + Visa processes be in place:

  • Non visa-required nationals: minimum 4 weeks' notice – from receipt of paperwork by HR to proposed start date (shorter notice may apply if the candidate is already in Ireland)
  • Visa-required nationals: 8 – 10 weeks' notice – from receipt of paperwork by HR to proposed start date (shorter notice may apply if the candidate is already in Ireland)

Check if you need a visa

Existing employees

Researchers currently in possession of an Employment Permit may move to a Hosting Agreement (where applicable) upon the renewal of their current permit.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I still need a visa if I have a hosting agreement?

Yes, the Hosting Agreement does not replace any of the immigration requirements (visa or GNIB registration) and only allows the researcher to enter the state. Through the IUA we are working with the Department of Justice to revisit the requirement for registration each year – but for the moment, it has not changed.

Researchers that do not register with GNIB risk jeopardising the withdrawal of their hosting agreement, risk delays in their residency applications and ultimately risk deportation.

Do I need to get a visa each time I travel with my Hosting Agreement?

From 13 May 2019 visa required nationals who hold a valid IRP/GNIB card will no longer need a re-entry visa to travel to Ireland. Their IRP/GNIB card and passport will be sufficient. This brings Ireland in line with other EU Member States.

Can the spouse of a researcher work?

Yes, spouses of a researcher coming within the scope of a hosting agreement will be granted an immigration Stamp (1G) and be allowed to work without the requirement for an Employment Permit.