Why you should invest in and obtain an investor visa in Ireland
Updated: Aug 23, 2019
The 5th and last window for applications for the Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) and Start Up Entrepreneur Programmes (STEP) closes on the 25th October 2019.
Following my update on the recent INIS notification last week I have received quite a few queries about this type of visa. This article provides an overview of the investor visa including the benefits of Irish (long) term residency which can lead to citizenship. In addition I am pleased to provide details on the Irish Diaspora Loan Fund which is an authorised and regulated Central Bank of Ireland fund and the perfect investment vehicle for the investor visa in Ireland.
The Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) was introduced by the Irish Government in 2012 to encourage inward investment for the creation of business and employment opportunities in the State. The IIP is designed to encourage investors and business professionals from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to avail of opportunities of investing and locating their business interests in Ireland and acquire a secure residency status in Ireland.
The programme offers four investment options for potential investors:
· Enterprise Investment: A minimum of €1 million invested in an Irish enterprise for a period of at least 3 years.
· Investment Fund: A minimum of €1 million invested in an approved investment fund for a period of at least 3 years. Such funds must be approved and regulated by the Central Bank.
· Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT): A minimum investment of €2 million in any Irish REIT that is listed on the Irish Stock Exchange, for a period of at least 3 years.
· Endowment: A minimum €500,000 philanthropic donation to a project which is of public benefit to the arts, sports, health, culture or education in Ireland.
A non-EEA national may apply under the IIP for permission for themselves and their spouse/civil partner and children under the age of 18 to reside in the State. Dependent children between the ages of 18 and 24 may also be considered if they are in full time education. This visa is for high net worth individuals with a minimum personal net worth of €2 million and who are of good character and have not been convicted of criminal offences in any jurisdiction.
Applicants must complete an application form for approval under the IIP indicating the investment opportunity the investor seeks to pursue. Supporting documentation must be supplied including evidence of the high net worth, details of the source of the wealth and evidence of good character. A non-refundable application fee of €1,500 by electronic funds transfer is payable.
All applicants, as well as their nominated family members over the age of 16 must submit their application with a statement of character from the police authorities of each country in which they have resided for more than six months during the 10-year period prior to your making an application. Applicants must supply a due diligence report from a reputable international risk management and security screening organisation.
An Evaluation Committee composed of senior officials from the relevant Irish Government Departments (Ministries) and Irish State Agencies involved in enterprise development in Ireland meet (usually) four times per year to consider the applications. Applications are assessed based on the profile of the applicant, the commercial viability of the project, employment outcomes associated with the proposed investment and the overall benefit to the Irish State. Processing times are lengthy now due to increased scrutinization of applications.
The Irish Diaspora Loan Fund (IDLF) mentioned at the opening of this article provides considerable benefits and advantages to an applicant.
· The IDLF aims to issue innovative finance to a portfolio of Irish businesses which will each increase employment levels throughout the lifetime of the fund.
· Ensure maximum protection of investor funds, by following a conservative, low risk loan investment policy.
The fund is approved and regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland and so pre-approved by INIS for investor visa applications. IDLF is an asset-backed mutualised debt fund which offers a very secure option for investors seeking to access this type of visa. IDLF provides senior debt to credible Irish businesses in line with Irish Government spending priorities. These include owner operated rural hotels, student accommodation and social & affordable housing development schemes.
Approval of Applications
Once an application is approved the investment must be made within 90 days of the date of the approval letter. When the investment is complete, the applicant must submit the following documents to the Minister.
1. A letter from a solicitor, who is permitted to practice in the State, confirming the funds have been invested in the Irish business/enterprise.
2. A letter from the enterprise/business stating the financial value that has been invested in their business/enterprise.
3. Evidence of transfer of funds to include payment remittance and bank statement showing transfer of funds.
1. A letter from a solicitor, who is permitted to practice in the State, confirming the funds have been invested in the investment fund.
2. A letter from the Fund Investment Manager stating the financial value that has been invested in the fund.
3. A copy of the applicant’s subscription certificate.
Real Estate Investment Trust
1. A letter from a solicitor, who is permitted to practice in the State, confirming that €2 million has been invested in the REIT.
2. A letter from the REIT company stating the financial value that has been invested in the REIT.
3. A copy of the applicant’s share certificate.
1. A letter from a solicitor, who is permitted to practice in the State, confirming the funds have been donated to the registered charity.
2. A letter from the registered charity stating the financial value that has been donated to their charity.
3. Evidence of transfer of funds to include payment remittance and bank statements showing transfer of funds.
When the Minister is satisfied that the investment has been undertaken, an approval letter will issue granting the applicant a residence permission. This permission is valid for 2 years from the date of issue of the letter. Registration is then completed at the Burgh Quay Immigration Office if residing in Dublin or at a local Police (Garda) Station if residing outside of Dublin.
Benefits of the Visa and of residence in Ireland
The immigration permission that is provided is Stamp 4 which is the long-term residence immigration permission in Ireland. Physical residence is not actually required in Ireland though it should be noted that anyone intending to naturalise will need to comply with the residency requirements for naturalisation (this requires having a period of 365 days* (1 year) continuous reckonable residence in the State immediately before the date of your application for naturalisation and, during the 8 years preceding that, have had a total reckonable residence in the State amounting to 1,460 days* (4 years). Altogether you must have 5 years (5 x 365 days*) reckonable residence out of the last 9 years).
Residence in Ireland allows work and study for the investor and their family. Ireland is a committed member of the European Union and as such benefits from free trade within the EU and EEA. Ireland has a well performing economy and many excellent universities and schools for dependent family members in education. Ireland is well placed geographically being close to the United Kingdom and the mainland of Europe and is well connected for international flights to the Americas, the Middle East and Asia and Australia.
An investor and family are best advised to reside in Ireland if at all possible, in order to naturalise. Irish citizenship is a much sought after one as it is European Union citizenship, and no matter what happens in terms of Brexit citizens of Ireland (and the United Kingdom) will continue to enjoy free movement within Ireland and the United Kingdom (and the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man which are not part of the United Kingdom) as part of the Common Travel Area (CTA). The CTA has existed almost continuously since the formation of Ireland and effectively allows citizens of both countries to move freely in and live and work and claim social welfare entitlements in each country. This puts Irish citizens in a unique position as they are considered as immediately 'settled status' on arrival in the UK. The Irish passport is one of the world's strongest allowing visa free travel to 120 countries and visa on arrival in another 47.
Conclusion and contacts
Ireland is an excellent choice for the investor seeking financial investment and a path to long term residency and Irish citizenship. Ireland is a booming economy and currently excels in innovation and is home to many Irish start-ups and established multinationals. The investor visa and the IDLF are excellent paths to residency and eventual naturalisation. But investors are advised to move fast as the window for 2019 will shortly close and will not re-open most likely until March or April of 2020.
If you wish for any further information, please do get in touch.
If you wish for any further information on the IDLF please see here.
(Disclaimer: please note that this article provides an overview of the Investor Visa programme in Ireland only and does not constitute legal or financial advice. The material contained in this article is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice.
Content is provided as information only and does not constitute advice and does not form the basis of a contract, either express or implied.)