The Irish Immigrant Investor Programme was introduced in April 2012 and has been revised a number of times since then. To qualify for the Irish Immigrant Investor Programme a high net worth non-EEA national, with a minimum personal net worth of €2,000,000, can invest a minimum amount into an Irish business which provides employment, invest in a Real Estate Investment Fund (REIT), an Investment Fund or an endowment.
Successful applicants and their nominated family members will be granted residence in Ireland for two years which will be renewable for a further three years. After five years residence, participants under the programme will be entitled to apply for long term residence in Ireland. Where required, the applicant will be granted a multiple entry visa for Ireland for the same duration. This will allow successful candidates to reside in Ireland and to travel freely to Ireland for the duration of the permission.
The application will be considered by an independent evaluation committee who will recommend to the Minister as to whether or not the applicant should be accepted to the scheme. It is important to note that merely meeting the financial thresholds set out above does not guarantee approval.
Categories of investment
1) Enterprise Investment
A minimum investment of €1,000,000 in a single Irish enterprise or spread over a number of enterprises for a minimum of three years. The enterprise may be a start-up established by the investor or an existing business registered in Ireland. The enterprise must be registered and headquartered in Ireland and must support the creation or maintenance of employment. The investment must be made in the name of the individual seeking residence under the Programme.
2) Investment Fund
A minimum investment of €1,000,000 in an approved investment fund for a minimum of three years. The Department of Justice maintains a list of approved investment funds for the Immigrant Investor Programme.
3) Real Estate Investment Fund (REIT)
A minimum investment of €2,000,000 in any Irish REIT that is listed on the Irish Stock Exchange. The investment may be spread across a number of Irish REITs. A REIT is a listed company used to hold investment properties. The REIT is a tax efficient model for investors in that it is exempt from corporation tax itself, but must distribute the majority of profits each year.
A minimum endowment (gift) of €500,000 in a project of public benefit in the arts, sports, health, cultural or educational field. The endowment should be regarded as a philanthropic contribution with a clear public benefit. Investors will receive no financial return or recoupment of the principal.
The application process
The application process has become more streamlined in the last number of years and further guidance has been provided by the Department of Justice in relation to:
- What can be used in relation to proof of net worth
- The approval process and how it works
- What is required in relation to the enterprise application
- Expected time periods for decisions within the approval process
|Enterprise investment||Min €1,000,000 invested in an Irish enterprise for three years|
|Investment Funds||Min €1,000,000 invested in approved fund for three years|
|REIT||Min €2,000,000 investment in a REIT for three years|
|Endowment||€500,000 philanthropic donation by an individual|
Applications under the Scheme are assessed by an Evaluation Committee chaired by the Department of Justice and Equality with membership drawn from the Departments of Finance, Jobs Enterprise and Innovation, Foreign Affairs and Trade, the IDA and Enterprise Ireland.
For more information on this topic, please contact:
Conor Lupton, Partner.