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Ireland Immigrant Investor Program 2021: Ultimate Guide2020-10-20T07:10:15+00:00

Ireland Immigrant Investor Program 2021

Looking to gain Irish residency by investment in 2020? Ireland’s Immigrant Investor Program (IIP) offers high net worth investors and their families, a simple, proven route to residency in one of Europe’s safest, most stable countries. Established in 2012, the Irish investor program encourages foreign investments with a view to facilitate job creation across a range of industries, and inbound tourism jobs, in particular.

To date, the lion’s share of IIP investors, with a view to expand their business footprint in Europe, have opted for equity investments in new or existing Irish Enterprises. As the program has gained popularity internationally, demand for lower risk investment options has grown exponentially.

Regulated by the Irish Central Bank and approved by the Department of Justice and Equality, the Irish Diaspora Loan Fund, or IDLF, as it is commonly referred to, is the IIP’s flagship fund-based investment route, offering a route to Irish residency and an emphasis on low risk investments and capital preservation.

Find out more about the Irish IIP, or contact us now for a free consultation.

When is the next application intake window for the Ireland Immigrant Investor Program?2020-10-20T07:09:24+00:00

According to an official government statement published on 12 June 2020, applications to the Irish IIP will no longer have to be made within specific intake window periods.  Applications can consequently be submitted at any time. However, the Evaluation Committee will still continue to meet at least once per quarter, with the final meeting for 2020 scheduled to take place in December 2020.

What are the process steps to apply for Irish Residency By Investment?2020-10-20T07:07:42+00:00

Once you’ve identified a suitable investment option, the application process comprises the following 6 steps:

STEP 1: Submit your application to ISD without making the investment.

STEP 2: Obtain approval from the ISD’s Evaluation Committee. 

STEP 3: Receive an approval letter and make the eligible investment within 3 months (90 days).

 STEP 4: Submit evidence of the investment to the Irish immigration ministry

STEP 5: The Irish immigration ministry issues an approval letter which the applicant can use to register their residence permission.

STEP 6: Commence the process of meeting the Irish residency requirements to qualify for and obtain Irish citizenship and a passport through eventual naturalization (as of 2020, there is no fast track program for obtaining Irish citizenship by investment).

 

How long does it take to apply for the Irish Immigrant Investor Program?2020-10-20T07:05:12+00:00

While many promotors claim that the Ireland investment residency process can be completed in around 4 to 6 months, this is simply not realistic. As of November 2020, the application process typically takes between 9 to 12 months, depending on the applicant’s availability to engage with the process in a timely manner.

 

Which countries’ nationals are eligible to apply for the Irish IIP?2020-10-20T07:04:16+00:00

As of November 2020, the Ireland Immigrant Investor Program is open to non-EEA nationals able to meet the program requirements, however citizens of certain countries subjected to international sanctions may not apply.

What are the approved investment sectors for the Irish IIP? 20202020-10-20T07:00:35+00:00

The Ireland Immigrant Investor Program was created to stimulate job creation and economic activity, while also seeking to involve the private sector in addressing supply-side challenges in a number of priority areas.

While the below list is not exhaustive, some of the approved investment sectors and projects approved by INIS include:

  1. Social Housing

  2. Nursing Homes

  3. Primary Care Centres

  4. Fund based investments (senior debt) in Irish tourism focused SMEs, typically with a view to fund expansion and renovation efforts

  5. Student housing facilities.

What are the requirements of the Ireland IIP? 20202020-10-20T06:58:19+00:00

What are the requirements of the Ireland IIP?

  1. The primary applicant must be at least 18 years of age

  2. Applicants are required to have a clean criminal record

  3. The primary applicant must have a minimum net worth of €2 million.

  4. The applicant must have a minimum of €1 million in investable funds, and should be able to make and maintain an eligible investment to this value for a minimum period of 3 years.

  5. The source of investment funds must be clean.

  6. All applicants will be subject to strict Anti Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) vetting, with a keen emphasis on identifying Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs).

 

What are the benefits of the Ireland Immigrant Investor Program (Ireland IIP)?2020-10-20T06:54:53+00:00
  1. Obtain legal residency status without the need to relocated to Ireland

  2. Low-risk program: Only invest once your Irish residency application has been approved

  3. Simple requirements: The Ireland IIP requires no language testing, medical tests or interviews, and the annual stay requirement is low – only 1 day per year.

The Ireland IIP at a glance

The Irish Immigrant Investor Program is internationally sought after, and with good reason: Ireland is one of the world’s safest, most stable democracies, boasting world-leading standards of living and a thriving, diversified economy.

To gain Irish long-term residency, investors are required to make a minimum investment of €1 million for a period of 5 years, however an €500,000 endowment (donation) based option is available as well. Another key requirement of the programme is that investors must have a legally acquired minimum net worth of €2 million.

Applicants must have a clean police record, and funds used to invest under the IIP cannot be borrowed from third parties.

While the program doesn’t offer a direct route to permanent residency, the Stamp 4 visa offers residency equivalent privileges, and can be renewed indefinitely provided that the investor remains financially stable and of good standing – even after the initial investment period has passed and their capital has been returned.

In addition, Irish investment residency can lead to Irish citizenship through regular naturalisation after permanent, in-country residency has been maintained for a period of 5 years or longer.

Another key drawcard for the program is the fact that investors only have to spend 1 day per year in Ireland to maintain their residency status, making it an excellent “Plan B” destination.

Under the IIP, prospective investors file an application with the Irish authorities before they are allowed to make an investment. The program offers around 5 application windows per year, and the client due diligence and vetting process takes approximately 6 months to complete.

IIP INVESTMENT FUND APPROVAL CRITERIA:

In order to qualify as an investment vehicle under the IIP, an investment fund must have been pre-approved by Immigration Ireland. Funds have to be venture capital or private equity based, with a focus on small and medium sized business enterprises. In addition, eligible funds must have a minimum of €20 million under management.

The fund, as well as the fund managers, must be regulated by the Irish Central Bank, and only experienced find managers with a proven track record of success are approved.

It is important to note that a key criterion is that funds possess the potential to create new jobs; not their ability to generate profits.

Moreover, the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Services is not equipped or authorized to advise prospective investors on which funds to invest in, and a fund being pre-approved in no way guarantees its financial performance. It is therefore vital that investors do their own due diligence and consult a suitably qualified legal expert with view to identify the most appropriate investment instrument.

Program investment options 2021

It is important to note that only officially approved investments qualify as the basis upon which foreign investors and their families can apply for residency under the Immigrant Investor Program.

As of April 2020, the available investment options approved for IIP investments include:

  1. 1 million Approved Fund Investments: Fund based investments are arguably one of the simplest investment tracks for gaining residency in Ireland. In order to serve as an eligible investment vehicle for the IIP, the fund must have been pre-approved by Immigration Ireland.

In order to gain pre-approval, a fund, along with its managers, must be regulated by the Irish Central Bank, and at a minimum, the fund must have €20 million under management. Only experienced fund managers are eligible for approval. In addition, the fund’s focus must be either on private equity or venture capital for SMEs.

Any fund investments must be used to purchase shares in Irish domiciled companies whose shares are not tradable on the stock exchange, with effective job creation being a key criteria. Investments in commercial real estate and buy-to-let property schemes are not eligible under the IIP.

 Investment Funds such as the Irish Diaspora Loan Fund (IDLF) offer a low-risk investment approach with an emphasis on capital preservation. IDLF is a senior debt fund providing low cost financing to established and profitable hotels and hospitality business to fund expansion and renovation projects. These loans are secured against the hotels’ property assets. The fund’s approach is proven to deliver on job creation while increasing the overall value of the business being invested in.

  1. 1 million Enterprise Investments: This investment options requires investors to make a minimum investment of €1 million in a new or existing Irish enterprise. The business must be registered in Ireland, and its headquarters must be situated in-country as well. A key consideration for this investment track is the creation or preservation of jobs for Irish nationals. While the minimum investment period is 3 years, enterprise investments are typically maintained for longer periods.

 The submission of a detailed business plan indicating how jobs will be created is a mandatory requirement, along with the audited business accounts for the enterprise in question, should the investor be seeking to invest in an existing company.

Qualifying investments can only be made in the investor’s private capacity, i.e. not in the name of a trust or corporation, and investments in publicly traded securities or buy-to-let properties are not eligible under the IIP. Investors do have the option to invest across multiple qualifying businesses, provided that the total capital investment is no less than €1 million.

Capital pooling by multiple investors is also allowed, provided that each individual investor meets the program criteria independently.

  1. 2 million Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) Investments: In order to apply for Irish residency under this investment track, investors must invest a minimum of €2 million in an Irish REIT for 3 years or longer. The REIT being invested in must be listed on the Irish Stock Exchange, and the number of shares approved must be retained for this period, even if these shares’ value rise above the original investment amount.

 After 3 years, the investor may divest up to 50% of their total shares. After 4 years, only 25% of the initial shareholding has to be maintained. After 5 years, the investor can divest the remaining shares, while still maintaining their Irish residency status.

Irish REIT investments provide investors with the benefit of risk diversification across a range of properties, while REIT debt limits reduce investors’ negative equity exposure risks.

NB: It is important to note that no REIT invested in prior to receiving application approval from Immigration Ireland will be approved under the program.

  1. 500,000 Endowments (Non-Refundable Donation): This application track requires applicants to make a minimum donation of €500,000 to a government approved project or philanthropic initiative serving the common good in Ireland. Areas such the arts, public healthcare, sport, education or culture are favourably considered.

Where 5 or more applicants donate together, the donation requirement can be lowered to €400,000 per applicant, provided that a single project or cause is funded. Applicants are not allowed to receive any financial return or benefit from their contribution.

Applicants are required to submit a business plan outlining how their endowment contribution will serve the public good and how the funds will be used.

IIP: Program traction among foreign investors

While the program, since inception, has been popular among wealthy Chinese and Russian investors, it has also garnered significant traction among investors from countries such as South Africa the United States and the Middle East.

Since inception, the IIP had seen capital investments in excess of €700 million flow to Ireland, off a total of 1,000 applications – mostly from Chinese high net worth individuals seeking to establish a footprint in Europe. 

IDLF Applications from the USA have increased by over 300% year on year, suggesting that political instability in both developed and emerging economies could act as demand drivers for Irish residency. The fund had received over 20 applications in 2019 alone, up from a mere two or three in the year preceding. During the same year, the IIP overall received over 420 applications, with a rising percentage of applicants hailing from South Africa and Hong Kong, in particular.

The ongoing political crisis in Hong Kong has led to a spike in enquiries from Hong Kong nationals seeking to safeguard their families and business interests against state overreach by the Chinese government. To these wealthy families, Ireland appeals particular in terms of its political stability, attractive taxation and the quality of its educational institutions.

The fact that English is Ireland’s lingua franca is also proving to be a decisive factor in terms of its appeal as a second citizenship destination. Portugal and Spain, however, have also reported an uptick in interest from Hong Kong, given the lower price points on their real estate based investment residency offerings.

With you, every step of the way

Investor Visa Ireland offer you access to a team of  Irish investment immigration experts.

Apart from assisting with your investment residency application, we also offer a dedicated concierge service for investors, should you and your family choose to relocate to Ireland.

Our seasoned advisors can help you select schools, universities, identify suitable business opportunities and acquire real estates.

Contact us now for a consultation and start getting your family’s Irish Plan B in place today.