The Irish IIIP is the only investment immigration program linking the UK and the European Union after Brexit. It is not surprising that wealthy people actively apply for a residence permit in Ireland through investments.
Moreover, not only the dynamics, but also the geography of demand deserve special attention. Further – more: local authorities are considering the possibility of reducing the cost of the program. Keep reading to find out who will have to join the growing queue for the popular Irish golden visa.
In 2012, the acceptance of applications for participation in the Irish Immigrant Investor Program (Ireland Immigrant Investor Program or “IIIP”) began. The scheme was created to allow individuals and families from outside the European Union to obtain a residence permit in Ireland through investments in the local economy.
The candidate must confirm the presence of legally accumulated capital of at least 2 million euros and invest 1 million euros. Moreover, obtaining a residence permit in Ireland through investments is possible only if the applicant invests money in a business project previously approved by the authorities under the IIIP program. Alternatively, it is allowed to make a donation (irrevocably) in the amount of 0.4 million euros.
According to the Irish Ministry of Justice, since 2012, citizens of non-EU countries have transferred 826.5 million euros to Irish businesses and donated to charitable organizations in exchange for the right to reside in the republic under the IIIP scheme. Beneficiaries preferred returnable investments, having invested about half a billion in 190 enterprises.
According to the statistics of the Ministry of Justice, immigrants from the United States showed high activity. The Irish golden visa also attracted high interest from wealthy citizens of Vietnam and Saudi Arabia.
In the first year of the scheme, investors contributed more than 1.5 million euros to the Irish economy.
Subsequently, the amount, as a rule, increased several times annually, falling to only 4.4 million euros in 2014 against the background of changes in the rules. In 2020, despite Covid-19, investors paid 184.6 million euros in exchange for the right to reside on Irish territory.
In 2020, more than 4 hundred applications for participation in the IIIP scheme were received from all over the world, with the demand from Hong Kongers growing most dynamically. In fact, experts call the unstable situation in Hong Kong one of the key drivers of demand for a residence permit in Ireland through investment right now.
According to official statistics, in the period from 2019 to 2020, there was a 300 percent increase in the number of applications from wealthy families and professionals from the Asian jurisdiction.
The fear is not the closure of the IIIP scheme, but queues for a residence permit in Ireland through investment. Especially against the background of news about a possible decrease in the entry threshold. Thus, a group of lobbyists, including a number of developers, called on the government to reduce the entry threshold for program participants to 500,000 euros from 1 million euros (when investing in business) in order to attract additional investments in the republic.
Lobbyists claim that lowering the entry threshold will bring the financial conditions of the IIIP in line with the requirements of other investment residency programs of the EU states and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. For example, the current entry threshold for the size of investments in Spain, Greece and Portugal is from 250,000 to 500,000 euros.
In fairness, it should be noted that attempts to lobby for cheaper prices have been made before. In particular, interested parties proposed amendments to the then Minister of Justice Charlie Flanagan in 2018. However, the relevant department left the investment rules unchanged after an audit conducted by EY accountants.
In 2021, the government may face increased pressure from businesses to reduce the minimum necessary investments for obtaining a residence permit in Ireland in order to help the republic recover from the economic damage caused by isolation and lockdowns during COVID-19.