IRELAND - THE LAND OF SHAMROCK
I. Ireland Immigrant Investor Program (IIIP)
The Irish Government created this program to offer investors and business professionals from outside of the EU investment opportunities in Ireland. This program allows foreign nationals and their families to acquire a secure residency status in Ireland by committing to an approved investment in Ireland.
The program offers four investment options to potential investors. They can choose to invest in any one of the following –
Applicants are required to transfer the appropriate funds to their preferred investment option when the application has been approved by the Minister for Justice and Equality. Confirmation that the investment has been made will be required in order to issue residence permits under the scheme
- Investors must be of good character and must not be convicted of criminal offences
- All applicants for the Immigrant Investor Program must demonstrate that they have legally acquired a minimum net worth of €2 million
- The applicants must provide evidence of the legal origin of the funds/assets that they intend to use for the proposed investment and the ability of the applicants to transfer those funds to Ireland.
Applicant’s spouse and children under the age of 18 years can be included in the same application. Dependent children between the ages of 18 and 24 may also be considered under certain circumstances (should be unmarried and financially dependent on the main applicant)
Find your eligibility
1. Enterprise Investment :
This option is most suitable for investors who wish to create a new enterprise or invest in an existing business in Ireland.The applicant must submit a comprehensive business plan, which clearly identifies the financial investment being made in support of the application for residency under this program.Investment requirements:
- A minimum investment of €1 million in either a single Irish enterprise or spread over a number of enterprises for a minimum of 3 years. The enterprise may be a new one established by the investor or an existing business registered in Ireland. The enterprise must be registered and headquartered in Ireland and the investment must support the creation or maintenance of employment.
- The investment must be made in the name of the individual seeking residence under the program.
- A purely speculative investment aimed at increasing profits through reduction in staff or moving jobs offshore would not be acceptable for the purposes of the program.
- An investment by a corporation, even when owned 100% by the applicant will not be acceptable.
- An investment which comprises the purchase of publicly traded securities will not be considered as an eligible investment under the enterprise option.
- An investment in commercial or residential property for the purposes of leasing or renting that property to tenants will not be considered as an eligible investment under the enterprise option.
- The investment must be held for a minimum of 3 years.
2. Investment Fund
This option allows investors to avail the services of approved professional investment intermediaries to invest in Ireland’s Enterprise sector.
Investment requirements :
A minimum investment of €1 million in an Approved Investment Fund.
- The money invested in the fund must be committed for a minimum of three years.
- The money invested by the Fund on behalf of IIIP applicants must be invested in a manner consistent with the Program objectives.
- All funds must be invested in Ireland and must represent equity stakes in Irish registered companies that are not quoted on any stock exchange.
- The funds and fund managers must be regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland to conduct business in Ireland.
- Only fund managers with an established record of managing regulated funds will be accepted to manage funds in Ireland.
3. Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT) :
An investment in a REIT provides an investor with a lower-risk property investment model in which the investment is diversified into a pool of properties. The debt limits within the REIT reduce exposure to negative equity risk, and REITs are income producing investments which are required to distribute the majority of profits each year, and so generate a regular income stream for investors.
What is a REIT?
A REIT is a listed company, used to hold rental investment properties. It is a globally recognized standard for investment in rental property assets, already established in many developed economies. The aim of a REIT is to provide an after-tax return for investors similar to that of direct diversification. REIT is exempt from corporation tax on qualifying profits from rental property. Instead, the company is required to distribute the vast majority of its profits to investors each year for taxation at the level of the investor. The company must have a diverse ownership – no one person or group of connected persons can control the REIT.
Investment requirements :
- A minimum investment of €2 million in any Irish REIT that is listed on the Irish Stock Exchange. The €2 million investment may be spread across a number of different Irish REIT.
- The investor must declare an intention to invest in a REIT as part of the application process.
- The full REIT investment that has been approved for the Immigrant Investor Program must be held for three years from the date of purchase.
- During this three year period, the number of shares in the REIT approved for qualification under the IIP must be retained by the Investor even if their value rises above the €2 million original investment.
- After three years from the date of purchase, the investor may divest no more than 50% of the shares purchased for the IIP. Where an investor has divested shares during year three, the investor may, after four years from the date of purchase, divest no more than a further 25% of the shares purchased for the IIP. After five years from the date of purchase, no requirements on the retention of shares will apply to investors.
4. Endowment :
The endowment option is ideal for investors who wish to engage in philanthropy and who wish to promote projects that benefit the public at large. It is the most straightforward option and once the endowment is made, no further financial obligation is required under the Immigrant Investor Program.
- A minimum Endowment of €500,000 in a project of public benefit in the arts, sports, health, cultural or educational field which complies with the IIP guidelines as a philanthropic contribution with a clear public benefit.
- Investors will receive no financial return or recoupment of the principal.
- The Endowment must not displace or supplement current or capital expenditure.
- A group of five or more investors may combine their philanthropic endowments to contribute to an appropriate project. In such a case, a minimum investment of €400,000 per investor will qualify under the Program.
Main features of the IIIP:
- Successful applicants and their nominated family members will be granted residence permits of Ireland that will entitle them to work, to study or to start their own businesses in Ireland.
- Applicants are not required to reside in Ireland in order to maintain their immigration permission.
- The only requirement is that applicants should visit Ireland at least once per calendar year.
- Applicants can apply for Irish citizenship after residing in Ireland for four of the preceding eight years. They will be additionally required to reside physically in Ireland for the 12 months prior to application for citizenship.
The immigration permission is initially granted for two years and will be extended for a further three years. After this initial five year period, immigration permission will be extended for a further five years subject to the following conditions being fulfilled during the preceding two year period:
- The designated investment is still in place
- The applicant has not become a financial burden on Ireland
- Applicant has not been investigated, indicted or convicted in relation to any criminal offence in any jurisdiction
Processing time varies between 4 to 6 months.
Benefits of the program:
- Applicants can work, study or start their own businesses in Ireland
- No physical stay requirement or residency requirement. Applicants are required to visit Ireland at least once per calendar year
- Applicants can apply for Irish citizenship after residing in Ireland for four of the preceding eight years
- Dual citizenship is recognized
- Applicant may avail of a discount on their investment for any educational expenses that they intend to commit to in Ireland
- Hassle-free travel within EU countries
- Investment performance is not a condition for residence
II. Start Up Entrepreneur Program/Business Visa
The Start-up Entrepreneur Programme was introduced by the Irish Government in 2012 to allow for innovative entrepreneurs to apply for permission to establish their business and reside in Ireland on a full time basis.
- Applicants must be persons of good character
- They must not be convicted of any criminal offences in any jurisdiction
- They must have the required €50,000 funding available
- They must have an innovative business proposal
Funding & other requirements:
- The principal investor must have secured funding of at least €50,000/€75,000 for the proposed start-up, subsequent investors must have secured funding of at least €30,000
- The proposed business must be considered a High Potential Start-up (HPSU). The proposed business plan should clearly establish that the business will Introduce a new or innovative product or service to international markets
- Business must be capable of creating 10 jobs in Ireland and realizing €1 million in sales within three to four years of starting up
- Business must be led by an experienced management team
- Business must be headquartered and controlled in Ireland
- Business must be less than six years old
Applications for the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme may be made online at any time.
An Independent Evaluation Committee consisting of senior public and civil servants is responsible for evaluating the suitability of every application. The Evaluation Committee may seek further information from the applicant if required.
The Evaluation Committee will then make recommendations to the Minister for Justice as to the suitability of the application. Successful applicants will be issued with a letter granting them permission to reside in the State.
Applicants and their dependents can then secure residency in Ireland with the potential of gaining Irish citizenship later on.
Once an applicant has been approved, he/she must fulfil the following conditions to maintain residency :
- Applicant must establish the business as outlined in the application
- Applicant must work on this business on a full time basis
- Applicant is not permitted to be employed in any other capacity
- Applicant must not become a financial burden on the Irish State
- Applicant must not be convicted of a criminal offence in any jurisdiction