Friday, February 3, 2012


The Minister for Justice, Equality & Defence, Mr. Alan Shatter, TD, recently the introduction of two new immigration initiatives aimed at facilitating (non EEA) migrant entrepreneurs and investors who, in return for permission to reside in the State, are prepared to invest here for the purpose of saving or creating jobs.

The Immigrant Investor Programme:
The sort of investments envisaged will include a specially created low interest Government Bond, capital investment in an Irish business, endowments in the cultural, sporting educational or health areas will also be considered.The level and duration of financial commitment required from the Investor will depend on the nature of the investment but will generally range from €400,000 for endowment-related investments to €2 million in the new Immigrant Investor low-interest bearing Government Bond to be devised by NTMA in conjunction with the Immigration authorities. The level of investment in business entities where jobs are being created or saved will generally be €1 million and the Department will be guided by and reliant upon the advice and expertise of IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland in assessing individual proposals.

Approved participants in the Investor Programmes and their immediate family members will be allowed enter the State on multi-entry visas and to remain here for a defined period. Ordinarily this will be for a period of 5 years - reviewable after 2 years.

The Start-up Entrepreneur Programme:
The Start-up Entrepreneur Programme provides that migrants with a good business idea in the innovation economy and funding of €70k can be given residency in this State for the purposes of developing their business (this compares with a previous minimum funding requirement of €300k). No initial job creation targets will be set as it is recognised that such businesses can take some time to get off the ground. Projects will be evaluated by an Evaluation Committee with State Agencies playing a key role in "picking winners" or those who demonstrate a good idea or the potential to be a winner.The business proposal must have a strong innovation component.The applicant must not be a drain on public funds.All applications for both programmes will be considered by an Evaluation Committee comprised of representatives of IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, the following Government Departments; Finance; Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation; Foreign Affairs and Trade; Health; other Government Departments as the need arises and the Minister’s own Department of Justice. Applicants must be of good character and be able to support themselves while in Ireland. Applicants will be required to attest to their bona fides on affidavit sworn here.

An Annual Report will be published on the operation of the Programmes and they will also be reviewed to ensure that they continue to meet their objectives. The Programmes offer no special access to Irish citizenship. Beneficiaries will be subject to the same rules as other migrants in that regard – i.e. generally residence in the State for at least 5 years.

Next Steps

The Minister indicated that he hoped to have the new schemes formally launched by mid March when the detailed rules governing the Programmes which are being worked upon by officials in the Department of Justice will be published. He said no new legislation is required as the pre-existing legislative powers of Ministerial discretion are sufficient to enable the programmes to operate in a flexible manner.

Irene Carney


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