Introduced in 2012, Ireland’s Immigration Investor Program has received more than 1,200 applications from wealthy foreign investors, with 800 receiving approval.
About Ireland’s IIP
Ireland was quick to join the investment immigration bandwagon, setting a citizenship-by-investment program in the early 1990s that allowed foreign investors to qualify for a fast-track Irish passport.
The program was a controversial one and was ultimately abolished in 1998. Buffeted by the 2008 global recession, Ireland restarted the program to attract foreign investment, although its golden visa program is very selective in granting approvals.
Ireland has approved 800 applications in the past eight years while Portugal has granted permanent residence to close to 8,000 investors and around 15,000 dependent family members in the same period.
A closer look at the numbers shows an extremely conservative approach by the Irish, with more than half the total approvals made in just two years – 2017 and 2018.
IIP’s Investment Requirements
A €500,000 donation to a registered Irish charity can help investors qualify for an indefinite right to stay in the country after five years.
Those seeking the option of recovery of their investment can invest €1 million in an Irish enterprise or approved Irish investment fund for a minimum period of three years. These investments may have to be renewed upon review after the end of the prescribed time period.
A faster route is a €2 million investment in a registered and listed Real Estate Investment Trust in the country for a three-year period.
A Credible and Reputed Program
While golden visa programs have always been controversial, Ireland’s IIP enjoys greater credibility primarily due to the slow pace of approvals and the country’s reluctance to grant approvals to a large number of investors.
A 2019 European Parliamentary Committee’s report expressly described golden visa programs as security, money laundering, and tax evasion risks and called up EU member nations to shut down their programs.
Ireland was one of the few countries to propose and actually implement a 100 percent increase in minimum investment requirements to restrict demand among investors.
In 2018, the country introduced an enhanced control mechanism to ensure adherence to the highest due diligence and vetting standards, which has further slowed the already-conservative approval process.
Further, Ireland may enjoy long-term benefits of its conservative approach as countries like Portugal, Greece, Malta, and Cyprus witness rising domestic criticism and concerns about the impact on national security, economic stability, and quality of governance.
The program is popular among wealthy investors, especially among the Chinese who constitute 90 percent of total demand for the program. Other source of applicants include the US, with 1.8 percent of all applications, followed by the UAE, Russia, and Bahrain.
A recent review by the Department of Justice attributed very low risks to the program due to its small footprint. The review highlighted that the number of investors granted permanent residence constituted a tiny fraction of approvals granted through the normal immigration process.
Further, such investors don’t enjoy any special privileges or exemptions when seeking to qualify for Irish citizenship and the right to hold the Irish passport.General Information: Contact us to receive more information about this article.
Interested Investors: Kindly complete the following form and we will contact you to discuss your global residency and citizenship investment options.