An article in the Irish Times from Thursday, 23 August discusses the need for flexible visa procedures for non-EU researchers to enter the state. One of the main issues regarding immigration is the concern that foreign nationals will overtake the job market, leaving Irish citizens without work, or that they will become a burden on society, however, this isn’t a concern regarding researchers. Ireland welcomes foreign researchers, believing that they can only benefit the state by bringing their expertise and experience over. Countries will frequently set immigration barriers to prevent non-EU workers from overcrowding the job market, but it is important that researchers are able to easily obtain a visa.
In 1998, France was the first country to pioneer the Scientific Visa, where non-EU researchers could enter the state and work without needing to apply for a work permit, as well as obtaining the right to have family members join them immediately. This attracted a number of researchers into the State. Then, in 2005, the European Third Country Directive mandated that Member States within the Schengen zone adopt the French model. Once a researcher lawfully enters a Schengen area, they can move freely throughout the area. Ireland is not a Schengen country, but the government has signed on to the directive. The article reports that “The scheme targets non-EU researchers employed by the Irish higher education and public research sector as well as companies involved in research, development and innovation.” The Hosting Agreement, in conjunction with the scheme, provides that the researcher has the same rights as a Green Card holder.
The article concludes, “Given the global competition for talent, it is essential to have schemes like the Hosting Agreement in place so we can continue to attract researchers to Ireland.”