I R E L A N D
The Irish Investor Visa Program (IIP)
The Irish Program
The Irish investment-based immigration program is one of the newest programs in the world, as it was only just approved by the Irish government in January 2012. Similar to other European programs, Ireland divides its program into two broad categories: the Immigrant Investor Programme and the Start-Up Entrepreneur Programme.
Under the Investor Programme, approved investors and their immediate family members (spouse and unmarried minor children) will be granted Irish residency for a period of five years. This residency is renewable after two years. The types of investments that Ireland hopes to encourage under this program include a specially created low interest Government Bond. Investors who select this option must invest a minimum of 1,000,000 Euros into the bonds.
Alternatively, foreign nationals may invest a minimum amount of 500,000 Euros into one Irish enterprise or spread out over multiple enterprises. If the investor chooses this option, the investment must be sustained for at least three years. The enterprises can be brand new businesses that are created by the investor or they can be existing companies. The only other requirement is that the business be registered and headquartered in Ireland.
Another option for the foreign national is to invest in property. The investor can choose to invest a minimum of 450,000 Euros into a residential property combined with a 500,000 Euro investment into the immigrant investor bonds.
Notably, investments in the cultural, sporting, educational or health areas will also be considered for the purpose of immigration benefits, which is a feature unique to this Irish program. Importantly, there is not a fixed amount required for the investment. Rather the amount deemed required will depend on the nature of the investment and to which industry it will be committed. However, the Irish government has stated that the required amount generally ranges from 500,000 Euros to 2,000,000 Euros.
Under the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme, foreign investors who have a “good business idea” for an innovation to the economy, as well as funding of 70,000 Euros, may be granted residency in Ireland for the purposes of developing their business. The investor is not required to create a minimum amount of new job positions for Irish workers, making this option particularly easy to achieve.
Once the investment has been made and documented, the foreign national and family can apply for the permanent resident permits. These permits will typically be valid for a total of five years, with approval occurring at two different increments. After the investor has been a resident for two years, the Irish immigration authorities will review the investment to ensure that it still meets the conditions of the visa program. If the investment continues to meet the conditions, the residence will be extended for an additional three years. Afterward, the investor can extend the permanent residence in five year incréments.
Obtaining Irish Citizenship
To qualify for Irish citizenship, the foreign investor must have demonstrable good moral character (i.e., no criminal convictions), at least one year of continuous residence in Ireland before submitting the citizenship application, and the intent to continue to reside indefinitely in Ireland for the foreseeable future. Additionally, the investor must make a declaration of allegiance to Ireland and avow to observe the nation’s laws and values.
Interested investors are encouraged to contact immigration attorneys for further information on the Ireland investment-based immigration program.
Ireland's investment programme offers residency in return
for a €1,000,000 investment into an approved investment fund.
This is an exciting option for investors who may be looking to
educate their children at one of Ireland's superb universities,
such as Trinity College, or perhaps work in Ireland
at one of the worlds high performance companies located in Dublin,
such as Google or Microsoft.
The Irish Investor Visa Programme (IIP) is a key initiative by which the Irish government seeks to attract foreign direct investment into Ireland on the promise of secure and flexible residency status for the investor and his or her family. Applicants for the IIP must be “high net worth individuals” meaning they must have a personal wealth of at least €2 million.
The IIP is an attractive scheme for many investors as close family members will benefit from their own permission to work, study or establish a business in Ireland as they wish. The successful investor and his or her family will a ‘stamp 4’ status visa (which is a high-level immigration status short of citizenship) and will benefit from the added flexibility of being able to hold this status without having to actually reside in Ireland. This freedom to effectively come and go as they like, makes the IIP standout from all other immigration routes available to persons wishing to establish ties to Ireland. For those investors who chose to live in Ireland for 5 years, they may then be eligible to apply for citizenship by naturalisation. The Irish passport is widely recognised as one of the most valuable for those travelling internationally.
The safest option for investors to avail of the this attractive residency status in Ireland is the IDLF fund. IDLF is a fund established specifically to meet the needs of the IIP and is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland. This fund requires investors to invest €1m in for a period of five years. The fund then provides finance to 4 and 5 star hotel properties in Ireland and takes a fixed charge on the property, thereby securing the investment asset.
At the end of the five years, the full amount of capital is returned to the investors but they can continue to avail of the Stamp 4 residency status (or apply for citizenship) thereafter.
Ireland - World Class Business Location
The pressure is on to build Ireland as a world class business destination with recent world events. Through government and continued foreign direct investment, we are seeing Ireland develop and grow into an ideal business destination.
Ireland has grown as a business destination to a point where Ireland currently hosts:
9 of the world’s top 10 medical technology companies
8 of the top pharmaceutical companies
3 of the top 5 games companies
9 out of 10 world-leading technology and internet companies
15 of the top 20 world-leading life science companies
Over 50% of the world’s leading financial services firms
In fact, this month, the Succeed in Ireland programme, as delivered by ConnectIreland and initially started in 2012 as a one-year pilot, has been extended by IDA Ireland until March 2017. This is a clear indication of; firstly, the support of the Irish government to continue helping companies move to Ireland and secondly, the increased interest in Ireland by companies worldwide.
'Knowledge box' initiative
Not only does Ireland have its controversial corporation tax of 12% - one of the lowest in Europe but it also allows for a 25% tax credit against research and development costs. Ireland prides itself on fostering research and development. This has allowed for significant research to be completed. Multiple research centres are located throughout Ireland focusing on RDI projects for specific key industry sectors. A recent government initiative focussing on this is called ‘Knowledge box’.
The Knowledge Box initiative will apply a 6.25% tax rate to profits arising from certain IP assets which are the result of qualifying R&D activity carried out in Ireland. Further to this strong support of innovation, Ireland has the benefit of being a member of the European Union. It is also an English speaking country producing "the most highly employable graduates in the world” according to the 2010 European Commission study of third-level education.
The sign of Ireland’s continued success in working with and fostering growth is that many large multinational companies have been based in Ireland for many years, and are still continuing to invest in Ireland. Ireland continues to support them to expand their operations and investments.
SME and start-up market are increasing significantly in Ireland
So as Ireland increases its worldwide reputation as a location to invest, it is not only the large multinationals that are considering the move to Ireland, the SME and start-up market are increasing significantly in Ireland. For the same purposes that multinationals are interested in Ireland, international start-ups have relocated to Ireland as a base for international development. Due to Irish support of research and development mentioned above, start-ups locating in Ireland access experienced entrepreneurs, advanced research and support services with in-depth knowledge and experience in specialist areas. Further to that, start-ups have access to extensive funding and support programmes.
Friendly business immigration policies
Yet despite Ireland’s talented and highly skilled workforce, the Irish government has recognised and listened when companies struggled with skills or experience shortages in our local workforce. Ireland prides itself on its ranking with The World Bank in 8th among OECD countries (and 10th worldwide) for ‘Ease of doing business’; and 4th for ‘Starting a Business’ - the highest of any European country. As such, Ireland has a process for employing foreign nationals in Ireland. Ireland has introduced business immigration policies to attract the skills and experience required to continue development in Ireland.
Its business immigration policy is evidenced in the Critical Skills employment permit. It allows for companies to hire certain roles which are considered critically important to growing Ireland’s economy, are highly demanded and highly skilled, and in the significant shortage of supply in our labour market. Further to this, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation have recently invested in a new online processing system to allow for faster and more efficient processing of employment permit application.
Our services come in at this point as we assist with all corporate immigration into Ireland - from linking you into our network of advisors in Ireland to assisting with any employment permits where the employment of foreign nationals is required.
Most importantly– aside from the benefits of taxation, research, development and workforce – Ireland is known for welcoming all those who arrive at its door. With the instability and uncertainty surrounding the world outside, Ireland still remains the welcoming haven to all who arrive.
The Irish Diaspora Loan Fund
Investing in Ireland & supporting the creation of Irish jobs.
There are many people around the world who have a keen interest in supporting Ireland. Many would happily invest in Ireland, if a low-risk investment structure was available. Separately, well managed Irish hotels experience challenges accessing lower cost loan finance from traditional lending institutions. This impedes growth and employment in the hotel sector.
The Irish Diaspora Loan Fund (IDLF) gives people the opportunity to invest in Ireland, while supporting Irish job creation. The IDLF provides lower cost, asset-secured finance to the Irish hotel sector. Loans are provided to suitable Irish hotels on more favourable terms compared with traditional banking institutions, and are secured against the hotel property. Loans are provided on a fixed 5 year term.
In return for lower cost finance, the hotel is required to spend the financial savings on upgrading the hotel asset (building an extension, refurbishing bedrooms, new facilities, etc), and also demonstrate to the IDLF the growth in employment during the 5 year term. This upgrade investment increases the value of the hotel, while also improving the tourism sector and creating new Irish jobs.
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