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The government of Ireland makes available to non-EEA nationals and their families an Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) which offers several paths to obtaining residency for defined periods subject to ongoing renewal. Those interested in establishing a “permanent relationship” with the country, and who have the capital, may find investing in Ireland to be a good way to go.
These invest-in-Ireland schemes involve an approval process, so anyone interested in these Ireland investment opportunities will have to keep abreast of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service’s (INIS) website for details on specific application dates and deadlines.
As part of the review, an interdepartmental committee will scrutinize any plan to invest in Ireland by its merits. An Ireland investment must be found to be good for the country, create jobs, and be in the public’s interest. Funds invested in Ireland must be legally acquired and owned, not borrowed, by the investor. If you’re investing in Ireland you must also be found to be of good character and have a net worth of at least 2 million euros.
The Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) comprises several schemes for investing in Ireland.
Enterprise Investment – Involves investing 500,000 euros in an Irish enterprise (or spread over a number of enterprises) for three years. This Ireland investment option is ideal for those wishing to create a new enterprise or invest in an existing business in the country.
Investment Fund – Involves investing 500,000 euros in an approved investment fund, which are detailed on the INIS website. The money for this Ireland investment scheme must be committed for a minimum of three years. This option is best-suited for investors to avail of the services of approved investment intermediaries to invest in Ireland’s future potential in their enterprise sector.
Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT) – REITs are listed companies used to hold rental investment properties. This Ireland investment scheme involves a minimum investment of 2 million euros in any Irish REIT, with the option of spreading out the investment over a number of different Irish REITs. The money must be committed for a minimum of three years from the date of purchase. There are rules covering the divestment of shares purchased after reaching the three year mark, with all restrictions on the retention of shares lifted upon reaching five years after the date of purchase.
This Ireland investment option is ideal for investors seeking a lower-risk property investment model in which the investment is diversified into a pool of properties. REITs are income producing investments that are required to distribute the majority of profits each year. Because they generate a regular stream of income, REITs are an attractive option for those interested in investing in Ireland.
Endowment – Involves making a 500,000 euro philanthropic donation if you are acting as an individual. If five or more individuals are pooling their money to fund the endowment, the donation requirement drops to 400,000 euros. The chosen public-benefit project can be in the field of sports, health, culture, or education. Investors will receive no financial return with this type of Ireland investment scheme, nor will they recoup any principal. This scheme is best-suited for people interested in philanthropy who wish to get behind projects that benefit the public at large.
Of all the schemes to invest in Ireland, this is the most straightforward because once the endowment has been made, there are no further financial obligations under the IIP program.
The Benefits Of Investing In Ireland
Through the IIP Ireland investment program, successful applicants will obtain Residence Permission that will allow them to remain in the country for five years. Initially, the person investing in Ireland will be granted a two year permission, with the remaining time approved pending a review to determine the conditions of the scheme are continuing to be met.
After their initial five year period, if the person investing in Ireland has not withdrawn their Ireland investment and continues to be law-abiding and self-sufficient, they will be eligible to apply for residence in five-year tranches.
Note: Investing in Ireland does not require individuals to establish residence if they do not wish to do so. The rights of residence may be exercised by persons investing in Ireland as their business and family needs dictate. While INIS does not impose a minimum residence requirement, it is stipulated that the person behind an Ireland investment visit the country at least once every 12-month period.
There are two other investment schemes that have been temporarily halted as of July 2016. These are the Immigrant Investor Bond, requiring 1 million euro invested in the bond at 0% interest rate, and the Mixed Investment program, requiring an investment of 950,000 euros split between the Immigrant Investor Bond (500 euros) and the purchase of a residential property (450,000 euros).
Start-up Entrepreneur Programme (STEP)
Non-EEA nationals interested in investing in Ireland have another option on the table: the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme, also known as STEP. Its purpose is to allow entrepreneurs with start-up businesses with high potential to acquire a secure residency status in Ireland. Established in 2012, the program is an initiative of the Irish government to stimulate productive investment in Ireland and to attract dynamic business professionals with a proven track record of success.
Successful applicants to STEP are able to apply for residency status for themselves, their spouse or partner, and their children under the age of 18.
The program stems from the country’s desire to boost Foreign Direct Investment in Ireland. As a result, U.S., European, and Asian companies have begun to locate their overseas businesses there. Foreign Direct Investment in Ireland is seen as central to the country’s future prosperity. The government’s determination to attract companies interested in investing in Ireland is backed by a favorable tax regime and financial support systems for research and development.
Non-EEA Immigrants interested in the STEP program can get started with a 70,000 euro investment and a good business idea. Previously, the initial start-up investment in Ireland was set at 300,000 euros. Not only has the threshold for start-up capital been relaxed, no job creation targets are required either. Applicants must still pass through an Evaluation Committee comprised of various government departments and state agencies.
It’s important to note that these guidelines are constantly changing as the Irish government continues to update its policies. Even as we strive to provide our readers with the latest information available, it’s always good to check directly with INIS to obtain the most updated policies concerning immigration requirements.