The purpose of the Immigrant Investor Programme ("IIP") is to enable non-EEA nationals and their families who commit to an approved investment in Ireland to acquire permanent residency in Ireland.
The IIP was set up by the Irish Government in 2012. In 2017 the Irish Government Economic & Evaluation Service published a positive interim evaluation of the IIP. Further detail on the report can be found here.
The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service ("INIS") has confirmed that as of March 2018 a total of 708 applications have been approved generating investment of 507 million.
The Department of Justice and Law Reform is due to update its IIP guidelines on or before 8 February 2019. All 2019 applications must adhere to the revised guidelines. The IIP will be open for applications from:
4 March 2019 - 8 March 2019; 20 May 2019 - 24 May 2019; 19 August 2019 - 23 August 2019; and 21 October 2019 - 25 October 2019. Applications received outside of these periods will be returned.
The Department has announced that an independent review of the IIP will commence in the first quarter of 2019 and that the application windows may be varied upon its completion. A second review of the IIP guidelines will also be carried out following the completion of the independent review.
Overview of the IIP
There are essentially two components to an IIP application: the person and the investment. The personal criteria relate to the good character of the applicant, their net worth and the provenance of the funds to be invested. The investment component relates to the nature of the proposed investment.
Individuals can apply to the IIP without committing any investment funds. As of January 2018, an applicant must choose one of four eligible investments to invest in and submit the required documentation as described in this bulletin. Once the application has been approved the investment may proceed and once the funds have been invested the investor and their family will be issued with permission to reside in Ireland. In January 2018, the IIP raised the minimum investment threshold to 1 million from 500,000. This investment must be financed from the applicant's own resources, rather than a loan or other such facility, and must be committed for a minimum of three years.
Successful applicants will receive permission to reside for an initial two years which will be extended for a further period of three years provided the applicant continues to meet the conditions of the scheme. After this initial five year period, the investor will be free to apply for residence indefinitely in five year tranches. Investment performance is not a condition for residence.
There is no minimum residence requirement other than that the persons concerned spend at least one day in Ireland every calendar year. The investor is not required to establish actual residence in Ireland. The IIP is about rights of residence that the investor may exercise as their business and family needs dictate.
The IIP does not provide for preferential access to citizenship. Successful applicants are free to apply for naturalisation in the...