2022 marks the 10–year anniversary of Ireland’s Immigrant Investor Programme. From relatively small beginnings, the IIP now sees in excess of €100 million invested each year.

Since the programme began, in excess of €1 billion has been invested. It is a very attractive, and readily accessible, way for non–EU citizens to obtain residency rights in the Irish State.

Ireland has always been an attractive location for investors – and this has only increased with Brexit.  Often referred to as the “Gateway to Europe“, Ireland – and the IIP – are well worth the consideration of any international investors looking to secure residency rights in the EU’s only predominantly English–speaking country.

Philip Lee solicitors has huge experience advising on the IIP. We are well–suited to advise on all aspects of the application, from start to finish.

What is the Immigrant Investor Programme?

In simple terms, the programme allows investors to reside, study and work in the Irish state indefinitely once they commit to investing a certain level of funds in Ireland.

What level of investment is involved?

The level of required funding ranges from €500,000 to €2 million.

What form must the investment take?

An investor has four main options:–

Enterprise Investment – this involves an investment of at least €1 million in a new or existing Irish business for a minimum of three years.

Usefully, the investment can either be in a single business, or spread over a number of them.

The business must be registered and headquartered in Ireland and the investment must support either the creation or maintenance of employment in Ireland.

Investment funds – this involves an investment of at least €1 million in an investment fund for a period of at least three years.

The investment funds must invest in Irish businesses and projects.

Real Estate Investment Trusts (“REITS”) – this involves a minimum investment of €2 million in an REIT listed on the Irish stock exchange.

Similar to the Enterprise Investments, the investment can be spread across a number of different REITS.

Endowments – this involves an investment by a single investor of at least €500,000 into a public Irish project benefiting the arts, sports, health, culture or education (where there are multiple investors, the minimum investment is €400,000).

This is probably the most straightforward of the four options available to investors, involving as it does a simple one-off endowment.

What other boxes must be ticked?

An investor must:–

  • Be a high net worth individual – specifically, have a minimum personal net worth of €2 million.
  • Be of good character.
  • Not have been convicted of criminal offences in any jurisdiction.

What are the residency rules?

Importantly, physical residence in Ireland is not a condition of the scheme.  The investor is only required to visit Ireland at least once each year.

This is particularly attractive because, obviously, it does not commit the investor to spending long periods of time in the Irish state unless they want to. It affords a great deal of flexibility to the investor, in other words.

How long am I allowed to stay?

Typically, indefinitely.

  • If their application is successful, the investor is given “Stamp 4” permission for an initial period of two years (Stamp 4 permission allows foreign nationals to work, study or start their own business in Ireland).
  • At the end of the initial two–year period, the permission will usually be renewed for a further three years as long as: –
    • The investment is still in place/the endowment has been used by the beneficiary;
    • The investor has not become a financial burden on the Irish state; and
    • The investor has not been investigated, indicted or convicted in relation to any criminal offence in any jurisdiction.
  • From then on, the investor can apply for five–year renewals at a time – indefinitely.

Another very attractive feature of the Programme is that continued new investment is not required.

  • In the case of Enterprise Investment, Investment Funds and REITS, you merely have to maintain your investment for a period of 3 years.
  • In the case of Endowments, you merely have to make your initial endowment.

What about family members?

Residency status is also available for spouses/partners and minor children.

How does the application process work?

The application process can sometimes be complex in practice, and, among other things, it is critically–important to:–

  • Ensure that the required documents are assembled in the right format;
  • Ensure that all of the required steps are taken properly; and
  • Ensure that the approach that the Irish authorities will insist upon is taken in the application overall.

A comprehensive knowledge of the system in practice is essential.  Philip Lee acts in multiple IIP applications annually and are able to navigate the system and deliver the optimum result for our investor clients.

For further information in relation to this article, please contact a member of Philip Lee’s immigration team.