Key Development – 2019 dates for applications under the Immigration Investor Programme (IIP)
The Immigration Investor Programme (IIP) is open to non EEA nationals and their families who commit to an approved investment in Ireland. The IIP programme has been in operation since 2012 and has been a key initiative in the Government's foreign direct investment (FDI) strategy. To date the scheme has raised about €500 million in foreign funding.
Investors should note that the IIP is open for applications this year on the following dates:
- Window 1: 4 March 2019 - 8 March 2019
- Window 2: 20 May 2019 – 24 May 2019
- Window 3: 19 August 2019 - 23 August 2019
- Window 4: 21 October 2019 – 25 October 2019
Applications for the IIP will only be accepted during these periods. Revised guidelines are expected to issue shortly and all applications for 2019 must adhere to these otherwise they will be returned.
What is the IIP
The IIP provides a means for Non EEA nationals, who agree to an approved investment, to acquire permanent residency in Ireland. It requires an investment, ranging from €500,000 to €2 million, depending on the type of investment from the applicant's own resources and not financed through a loan or other such facility. The investment must be pledged for a minimum of three years. The IIP offers 4 investment options for potential investors and, if investors are approved, they may then apply for residency for themselves, their spouse/civil partner and children under the age of 18.
The four types of investment are:
- Enterprise Investment: a minimum investment of €1 million in either a single Irish enterprise or spread over a number of investments for a minimum of three years. The enterprise can be a start-up established by the investor himself or an existing business registered in Ireland. The enterprise must be registered and headquartered in Ireland and it must support the creation or maintenance of employment.
- Investment fund: a minimum investment of €1 million in an Approved Investment Fund. Investment funds that have been approved for the process of the Immigrant Investor Programme by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) will be detailed on the INIS web page. This money must also be committed for a minimum of 3 years.
- Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT): this is a listed company used to hold rental property. It is a globally recognised standard for investment in rental property assets. A minimum investment of €2 million is required in any Irish REIT that is listed on the Stock Exchange. The €2 million may be spread across a number of different Irish REITs.
- Endowment - this requires a minimum endowment of €500,000 in a project of public benefit in the arts, sports, health, cultural or educational field. It must be philanthropic in nature with a clear public benefit. Investors will receive no return or recoupment of the principal.
There is a fee of €1,500 for an application under the IIP and supporting documentation such as a business plan must be submitted with the application.
Successful applicants can expect to receive permission to reside for 5 years. After this there is the option to apply for citizenship. There is no minimum residency requirement other than the investor must spend at least one day in Ireland every year. Individuals must demonstrate they have a legally acquired minimum net worth of at least €2 million. They must also be able to demonstrate evidence of the funds they propose using for the investment, evidence of the source of the funds and that the funds can be transferrable to Ireland and convertible to euros. A statement of character both for themselves and any family members from the police authority of each country in which they have resided for more than 6 months during the previous 10 years must also be provided.
The IIP, which is particularly popular with Chinese investors, has been a valuable vehicle for attracting FDI to Ireland. The programme is the subject of an Independent Review scheduled for Q1 2019. Revised guidelines are expected to issue on or before 8 February next and a second review of these guidelines is planned in 2019 as part of the post Independent Review process.