Scheme to provide residency rights for investors to be expanded

Level of investment required to be scaled back in some areas

Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence Alan Shatter said the Cabinet had approved reforms to the operation of the Immigrant Investor Programme on foot of a review of the scheme. Photograph: Eric Luke

Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence Alan Shatter said the Cabinet had approved reforms to the operation of the Immigrant Investor Programme on foot of a review of the scheme. Photograph: Eric Luke

Sat, Jul 6, 2013, 07:55

The Government is to expand the scheme that allows wealthy individuals from outside the EU to obtain residency rights for themselves and their families in return for specific investments in the country.

Under changes approved by the Cabinet this week, the level of investment required of high net-worth individuals in business, Government bonds or by way of endowments to secure residency under the scheme has been scaled back in some areas.

In addition, in future the programme will allow for the cost of tuition fees paid to Irish third-level institutions for the children of investors to be considered reckonable as part of overall level of investment.

Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence Alan Shatter said the Cabinet had approved reforms to the operation of the Immigrant Investor Programme after a review of the scheme.

He said that under the programme, which had come into effect in April last year, a total of nine applications had been approved “with a project investment of over €10 million and predicted employment estimated at over 123 jobs”.

However, Mr Shatter said there were indications of further opportunities to attract inward investment and create employment opportunities.

Mr Shatter said: “When we launched the Immigrant Investor Programme in April 2012, I deliberately avoided making any predictions on the level of interest in scheme.

“This is new territory for Ireland and it was not possible to predict the level of demand at that time.

“The approach was to allow the programme to operate for a year and to review it to establish whether improvements could be made to the programme.

“This review has now been completed and while the level of interest so far has been encouraging, I believe that we can do more in this area to attract foreign investment for job creation.

“With this important objective in mind, the Cabinet have agreed to my proposal that a number of adjustments be made to the pilot programme.”

He said Ireland was an excellent place to do business and had 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,” he said. “The immigration system is already very supportive of foreign investment and the short-stay visa waiver programme introduced by my department in 2011 makes it easier than ever to travel here. It is already having a significant impact.

“Today’s initiative 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.”