The Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) is open to non-EEA nationals who commit to an approved investment in Ireland. The programme requires a minimum investment of €1m, from applicants and must own resources and not be financed through a loan or other such facilities, which must be committed for a minimum of three years.
Since the schemes launch in 2012 more than €820 million has been taken in by the state, some of which has been used to fund the development of more than 3,500 social housing units in the Republic. With nearly €250 million being spent in this category, it is by far the most favored by applicants.
The more than 1,100 non-EU citizens which happen to be mostly Chinese have also contributed to healthcare facilities, charities and nursing homes (which saw a substantial investment also at over €150 million) in order to secure residency in the Republic through the IIP Scheme.
The scheme is certainly favoured by developers also. As any developer in Ireland will know, banks can make it difficult to secure funding for social housing projects and the private alternative can seek yields as high as 13%-14%.
The IIP Scheme can provide cheap funding but problems are still to be found, mainly with – surprise surprise – rules & regulations. These are followed to the letter and it can take time before any project is approved.
How does it work?
Not just anyone can qualify for the scheme and the data shows it tends to be wealthy Chinese nationals who use the opportunity to aid their children’s studies in English.
In order to qualify, the applicant has several options:
- Enterprise Investment: A minimum of €1 million invested in an Irish enterprise for a period of at least 3 years.
- Investment Fund: A minimum of €1 million invested in an approved investment fund for a period of at least 3 years. Such funds must be approved and regulated by the Central Bank.
- Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT): A minimum investment of €2 million in any Irish REIT that is listed on the Irish Stock Exchange, for a period of at least 3 years.
- Endowment: A minimum €500,000 philanthropic donation to a project which is of public benefit to the arts, sports, health, culture or education in Ireland.
Applicants must also show their net worth is more than €2 million and pass many anti-money laundering checks as well as tax and other security checks. One thing to note aslo is the fact that this scheme entitles the applicant to residency only, not citizenship.
Full details of the scheme can be found at the following link.