The Irish immigration office has reported a huge surge in applications for its immigrant investor program, dominated by Chinese candidates.
Figures from the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service showed a 500 per cent increase in application numbers in 2016.
The program saw 329 applications for Ireland immigration received in total compared with 66 in 2015, 313 of them coming from Chinese investors.
The remaining 16 applications came from a range of countries, including USA, Antigua & Barbuda, Australia, Canada, Dominican Republic, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, St Kitts and Nevis, and Ukraine.
Investment Requirements: Ireland Investor Residency
|Immigrant Investor Bonds||Investment of at least €1 million in the Immigrant Investor Bonds issued by the National Treasury Management Agency for a period of five years.|
|Enterprise Investment||Investment of at least €1 million in one or many enterprises in Ireland for a period of not less than three years.|
|Investment fund||Investment of at least €1 million in an Approved investment fund for a period of three years. Currently, Immigrant investors cannot opt for this investment option for securing residency status in Ireland.|
|Real Estate Investment Trusts||€2 million in one or multiple Irish REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust) listed on the Irish Stock Exchange. The investment must be held for a period of three years.|
|Mixed Investment||Purchase of residential property of value not less than €450,000 in Ireland, AND, investment of at least €500,000 in the Immigrant Investor Bond issued by the National Treasury Management Agency.Both investments must be held for a period of five years.|
|Endowment||Endowment of not less than €500,000 in a project of public benefit in the field of arts, sports, health, culture, or education. Joint contribution by a group of five or more investor immigrants is permissible provided minimum individual contribution is not less than €400,000|
|Start-up Entrepreneur Programme||The non-EEA investor must invest not less than €50,000 in a High Potential Start-Up in Ireland.|
|Business Permission Scheme||The non-EEA investor must invest not less than €300,000 in a business activity in Ireland and must generate or maintain employment for at least two EEA nationals in the business.|
It means the Irish program follows the same pattern as the vast majority of the world’s investor programs, from the U.S. EB-5 and Canada’s Quebec Immigrant Investor Program, to Portugal’s Golden Visa and the U.K.’s Tier One Investor.
All of these programs are dominated by Chinese candidates.
The Irish program provides a range of investment opportunities, with thresholds ranging from €500,000 to €2 million.
Applicants must have a minimum net worth of €2 million and are only required to visit Ireland once every 12 months.
Benefits of Ireland Investor Residency
- Access to one of the most open economies in the world.
- Ranked as one of the best countries in Europe for doing business.
- Liberal tax regime.
- Stable country with a high standard of living.
- Easy access to the European Union and other developed nations.
- Option to apply for citizenship after fulfilling the requirements of the Investor Immigration or Startup Entrepreneur Programme.
In return, candidates and their families are given Irish residency for two years, renewable for another three years. At the completion of five years, long-term residence can be applied for. Benefits include a liberal tax regime and access to the European Union.
The terms of the program explicitly state that investor candidates get no preferential access to citizenship.
Since the program was launched in 2012, Irish authorities have approved 130 applications, attracting investment worth €65 million.
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