International Immigrant Investor Clients

Residency schemes for foreign investors: The Immigrant Investor Programme and Start-Up Entrepreneur Programme

Ireland’s Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr. Alan Shatter, unveiled in early 2012 two new initiatives designed to attract non-EEA investors and entrepreneurs to Ireland in order to stimulate job growth and development. The initiatives, the Immigrant Investor Programme and the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme, allow approved investors and their immediate families to receive residency in Ireland in exchange for a pre-determined investment. These programmes were designed to boost the Irish economy by providing an influx of long-term investment.

The Immigrant Investor Programme allows investors to participate in the Irish economy in four distinct ways:

  • 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.

The programme is designed to attract established entrepreneurs to engage in a long-term relationship with Ireland. In return for their investment, participants will be granted residency for five years, reviewable after two years, which can subsequently be renewed in five-year tranches.

The Start-up Entrepreneur Programme

The Start-up Entrepreneur Programme is designed to stimulate the growth of innovative businesses in Ireland. The programme allows non-EEA nationals with an innovative business idea and funding of €75,000 to acquire residency in Ireland to develop their business. Residency will be in line with the Immigrant Investment Programme, but with the expectation that the participant will be active in the administration of the project. The programme will create employment and new businesses will have greater flexibility and lower start-up costs. The business idea must be a High Potential Start-Up.

To qualify for the Programme, proposal must be:

  • Capable of introducing a new or innovative product or service to international markets
  • Capable of creating 10 jobs in Ireland and realising €1 million in sales within three to four years of starting up
  • Led by an experienced management team
  • Headquartered and controlled in Ireland
  • Less than six years old

Evaluation Committee

In addition to ensuring the minimum requirements listed by each programme are met, an Evaluation Committee will be established to determine that applicants are of good character, meet the financial requirements, and are capable of supporting themselves while in Ireland. The Committee will have discretionary authority in deciding whether a proposal will be beneficial for Ireland and job creation. The Committee consist of representatives from the IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, the Department of Finance, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Department of Health.

Residency and Citizenship

The two programmes, while intending to stimulate long-term relationships between Ireland and foreign investors, do not provide any preferential access to Irish citizenship. The current requirement of five years of “reckonable residency” remains in effect, even for accepted applicants. However, once accepted into a Programme, participants may apply for citizenship once they have met the necessary residential requirements. The two programmes, therefore, may ease the burden of acquiring Irish citizenship.

If you would like legal advice in relation to these matters, please call us on 01-6445777 or contact us here.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.

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