EURAXESS Ireland operate an application processing system for fast-track Work Permit for Non-EU R&D (Hosting Agreement) Scheme. The Hosting Agreement immigration scheme is designed for non-EEA researchers joining Irish accredited institutions such as Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) and other companies for the purpose of scientific research. Accreditation is received by companies/HEIs from the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI). The Hosting Agreement document is a permit which allows the researcher to stay and work in Ireland for the duration of their research project.
The scheme offers a range of benefits for non-EEA researchers and their closest family members in Ireland. It is designed to attract the brightest non-EEA minds to the country by minimising the immigration obstacles.
The Hosting Agreement System is managed on behalf of the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation by the EURAXESS Ireland Office based at the Irish Universities Association.
This preexisting system had been built up over 11 years. It was limited in its functionality and did not facilitate all stages of the application process. There was significant duplication of effort across the system and a large quantity of manual data entry which EURAXESS wanted to minimise.
As such the core challenge laid down was to develop a new website platform for the Hosting Agreement Scheme which would eliminate manual data entry and enable the accredited institutions to enter the application data digitally to the platform and be verified electronically by EURAXESS Ireland.
On final approval by EURAXESS Ireland, the accredited institution would need to be able to issue/print out the final hosting agreement form/certificate (a valuable official government document) for visa and immigration purposes. All actions initiated by the institution users on the processing platform would need to be strictly controlled and approved by EURAXESS.
After a detailed discovery process, leveraging insights from a workshops which involved a wide range of the interested stakeholders, Continuum identified how best to manage the follow of the application process. Critical aspects considered were with respect to optimal information flow between stakeholders, decision points, information retention requirements and reporting needs.
Continuum designed a series of high-fidelity wire-frames as a paper prototype of the system. This approach facilitated rapid refinement of the system with intuitive and meaningful feedback from the stakeholders. Once EURAXESS were able to sign-off on these wire-frames Continuum custom developed the system and back-end integrations required for data to flow securely through the process.
After an exhaustive QA process to ensure functionality, security and GDPR compliance the site went live in mid 2020.
The Services We Provided
Discovery (workshops with a broad range of internal and external stakeholders, technical discovery, desk reviews), UX & UI Design (including high fidelity wireframes design & design specification), Technical Specification, Database Schema, Database integration, Custom website & backend development and integration, QA, hosting & go-live support. Continuum continue to provide ongoing support to the client under a Service Level Agreement.
EURAXESS now operate a fully integrated custom UX designed system that allows for the smooth and online submission and management of the application process, greatly enhancing the efficiency and efficacy of the scheme, while ensuring that sensitive personal information is treated in line with GDPR requirements and security best-practices. Institutional stakeholders, immigration authorities and visa applicants from every country and territory in the world can now access this secure and effective site for the entirety of their application process.