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Starting Feb. 15, 2023, Irish Immigrant Investor Program closes

Irish Minister for Justice Simon Harris

Starting Feb. 15, 2023, Irish Immigrant Investor Program closes, according to a statement by the Irish Minister for Justice Simon Harris.

“I have recommended that it is now timely to close this programme to new applications, and have received government agreement to close it for further applications from close of business tomorrow, 15 February 2023,” stated Harris.

Ireland has become the new hotspot for investors seeking the path of investment for long-term residency

and citizenship in Europe. Established in 2012, the Ireland Immigrant Investor Program enabled family residence by an investment or donation to the country’s economy and an estimated personal net wealth of at least €2 million – the program has attracted over €1.17 billion in investment to Ireland since the start, according to the Irish Dept of Justice. Becoming a resident in Ireland has become easier thanks to the Ireland Immigrant Investor Program (IIP).

The majority of the program’s applicants are Chinese nationals, with a staggering number of 94% of the total applicants since the launch of the program coming from one nation. Throughout 2022, only 14 out of 1316 applications were from non-Chinese nationals.

In early 2022, the EU Parliament warned the country that its program was particularly vulnerable to tax evasion and abuse on part of the applicants – all-the-while volume of applicants tripled in the first nine months of 2022 as per media reports. The program’s surge in popularity in 2022 was seen as a result of its seemingly imminent suspension, which is now in effect as anticipated.

European commission takes Malta to court over golden passport programme

it would file a legal challenge against Malta for its so-called golden passport programme that allows wealthy foreigners to buy citizenship in exchange for an investment of around 1 million euros. Holding a Maltese passport allows them to live and work in any EU country.

In months after this issue on September 29, 2022, Malta suspended the programme for Russian and Belarusian nationals following the start of the war in Ukraine, but it continues to operate the scheme for all other nationalities and "has not expressed any intention to end it", the Commission said in a statement.

European commission believes the scheme is in breach of EU law because citizenship is granted without any real obligation accordingly to directives of EU laws (with requirements to live at least 5 years in a member state) for the beneficiaries to live in the country.

Malta disputes that view, insisting again that it was correct in its interpretation of EU treaties.

"The government of Malta believes that it is not in breach of the principle of sincere cooperation as stipulated in Article 4 (3) of the Treaty of the European Union," the Malta Home Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

The Maltese and Cypriot citizenship programme (suspended), however, allow the granting of nationality in exchange for a financial investment, which the EU seems adamant on phasing out across the continent.

Irish Immigrant Investor Gramme : Throughout 2022, only 14 out of 1316 applications were from non-Chinese nationals.

EU’s pushback against all RCBI programs, including programmes of Malta; Cyphrus and Ireland

The inclination to close the program was cemented by the opposition of EU commission againt Residency and Citizenship by Investment Programmes across the continent and calling upon their suspension or tighter regulations.

“CBI/RBI schemes constitute free-riding and produce severe consequences for the Union and the Member States, a financial contribution to the Union budget is warranted for both CBI schemes and RBI schemes,” stated an EU parliament report in early 2022, prepared by the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs

The chair of the committee, Juan Fernando López Aguilar, reportedly further expressed his skepticism of Ireland’s RBI scheme in particular: "Golden Visas must be related to actual economic activity linked with growth and job creation. That is the point that we are making from the European parliament. That of course includes Ireland which is a member state of the European Union."

(By Citinavi team)


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