Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr Alan Shatter TD, recently announced changes to the Department’s Immigrant Investor Programme. The scheme is designed to encourage foreign investment and offers residency rights to individuals from outside the EU who have a high net worth. These residency rights are offered in exchange for certain levels of investment in Irish businesses, in Government Bonds, in property (along with bonds) or by way of endowments.
Since its launch last year, nine applications under the Immigrant Investor Programme have been approved. However Minister Shatter noted that more could be done to attract foreign investment under this scheme. The changes, which took effect on the 15th of July, include a reduction of 50% in the minimum investment for both Government bonds (decreased to €1 million) and Irish businesses (decreased to €500,000). The changes will add payment of education fees for the children of investors as contributions to the level of investment required under the scheme. These changes mean that persons can now avail of the programmes benefits (residency rights in Ireland) with lower levels of investment.
The scheme will be promoted through Ireland’s embassy network and the State agencies involved in the promotion of trade investment and enterprise. Minister Shatter concluded his announcement of the changes by noting that "Ireland is an excellent place to do business and has many advantages in terms of its quality of life for investors and their families. They are very welcome here and will find good business opportunities….[The Immigrant Investor Programme] is a further indication of the Government’s recognition of the role that talented and successful migrants can make to Ireland’s economic development and the contribution they can make to job creation."