The Irish government has approved the closure of its immigrant investor programme (IIP) to further applications from close of business on 15 February 2023.
The closure of the IIP will not affect existing projects or individuals already approved under the programme. The Irish Department of Justice will continue to monitor existing approved projects in relation to the delivery and compliance with the terms of the programme. Current applications on hand at the time of closure will continue to be considered.
The IIP was a pathway for non-EEA nationals to obtain a visa in Ireland and was introduced by the Irish government in 2012.
Applicants to the IIP were required to be high net worth individuals with a personal wealth of at least €2m (£1.8m, $2.2m). The IIP required applicants to invest a minimum of €1m for a minimum of three years or €500,000 as part of an endowment, or €400,000 as part of joint endowment. The funds used for an investment had to be from the applicant’s own resources and not financed through a loan or other such facility.
The IIP offered four investment options for potential investors:
- Enterprise investment: A minimum of €1m invested in an Irish enterprise for a period of at least three years;
- Investment fund: A minimum of €1m invested in an approved investment fund for a period of at least three years. Such funds must be approved and regulated by the Central Bank;
- Real estate investment trusts: A minimum investment of €2m in any Irish Reit that is listed on the Irish Stock Exchange, for a period of at least three years; and
- Endowment: A minimum €500,000, or €400,000 where five or more applications are received, philanthropic donation to a project which is of public benefit to the arts, sports, health, culture or education in Ireland.
Government bond and mixed investment options were suspended in 2016.
‘Appropriateness and suitability’
Simon Harris, Ireland’s minister for justice, said: “The immigrant investor programme was established over a decade ago during a time of unprecedented economic difficulty to stimulate investment in Ireland that would be of strategic and public benefit to the state.
“Since its inception, the programme has brought significant investment to Ireland and has been operated by my department to the highest professional standards.
“However, it is important that we keep all programmes under review including any implications for wider public policy, such as the continuing appropriateness and suitability of this programme for cultural, social and economic use.
“We have also taken on board a number of reports and findings from international bodies such as the EU Commission, Council of Europe and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on similar investment programmes.
“Taking all of this into account, and informed by both internal and external reviews, I have recommended that it is now timely to close this programme to new applications.”