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Retirement, Residency, And Working As A Foreigner In Ireland

“Kathleen, I just started looking for a retirement location outside of the United States. I think I’m about one to two years away. Last December, I traveled to Belize. Not my cup of tea. In April, I’m going to Ireland for a visit. I’ll be spending a few days in Tralee and Kilkenny. I have a few questions.

“1) Are there any expat communities in the area of these two towns? 2) What does it take to become a resident in Ireland? 3) What are the opportunities for employment in Ireland?

“I would appreciate any information about such topics that you could pass on or direct me to where I could find such information.”

–Bill H., United States

You won’t find expat communities in Ireland, per se. Many Americans have moved to Ireland for retirement, but they are spread around the country.

Regarding residency, Ireland recently added a new residency category specifically for retirees. Unfortunately, this new provision makes it harder to qualify for residency in this country as a retiree. The current rules require a provable income of 50,000 euros per person (100,000 euros for a couple) to qualify for retiree residency status.

Regarding employment, if you can qualify for an investment residency permit, you could work for your own business, but it’d be very difficult to get a work permit to be able to take a job.

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“Kathleen, I am bringing to your attention a problem that is facing Americans retiring to Ireland. Many of us have received deportation letters giving as little as one week to voluntarily leave the country. The reason given is that the annual income is less than 50,000 euro per person per year.

“Even though many of us have purchased property with cash and have been living here for some time completely self-sufficiently, we are being told our income is not enough.

“A group has been formed to try and fight the deportations and the rules being applied to justify the deportations. If you are interested in this story and would like more information, please refer to the article here for a representative story involving David and Maura Woods.

“We all understand that Ireland has the right to allow whomever they wish to reside in their country; however, we all feel that we are boosting the Irish economy, not draining it. But mostly we would like the word to get out to advise those who may be making plans to retire in Ireland.”

–Gayle S., Ireland

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“Kathleen, I’ve just read your recent publicized letter from Gayle, S., Ireland, regarding Ireland’s current position on foreign resident retirees, with sadness and shame. The relationship between Ireland and the United States has always been and always will be very, very strong. It goes back to the very formation of the free state of Ireland, whereby the princely sum of 500,000 pounds was acquired, via gracious donations from American citizens, in order to establish Ireland’s National Sovereign identity.

“My God but how our state-employed bureaucrats have forgotten so soon the vital role that the U.S. citizen played in giving them their freedom and in particular this being the centenary of the 1916 Rising.

“Anyhow, that’s my little rant over. I am involved with attracting FDI to our shores and as such am very familiar with the various government-approved investor programs which might find favor with any U.S. citizen. One such program is the Start-up Entrepreneur Program (STEP). This might be suitable to a co-operative style approach for any U.S. citizen(s) looking to reside in Ireland. The intention of the program is to support high potential start-ups.

“More information is available from the Irish government website: www.inis.gov.ie.”

–Eddie F., Ireland

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