03 Jun Live and work in Ireland? Here’s how:
What is it that’s attracting so many global citizens to Ireland? And how can you join them?
Currently, 11.6% of Ireland’s total population are non-Irish nationals – and almost every nation in the world is represented, from Andorra to Zimbabwe; Afghanistan to Zambia. So let’s look at why – and how – Irish residence could be part of your future.
Why choose Ireland – the lifestyle?
Maybe so many people are drawn to Ireland simply because it’s a great place to live. Irish residents can expect a fantastic quality of life: the OECD Better Life Index places Ireland 15th of all OECD countries, based on a broad range of factors including housing, income, security, community and education.
Ireland ranks especially well for jobs and earnings, housing, education, health, environmental quality, personal security, social connections, sense of well-being and work-life balance – many of the things that you look for when considering relocation. Education is especially worth talking about, as Ireland is known for an extremely high standard from primary school upwards. Some of the best universities in the world are Irish, including Trinity College Dublin.
Most notable, though, is Ireland’s community spirit, coming second overall only to Iceland. Perhaps this, an elusive quality in many places in the world, is one reason Ireland is so enduringly popular. The Irish people are perhaps the most famous, most compelling reason to choose Ireland.
Another reason to relocate here is Ireland’s stunning natural beauty. The temperate climate means Ireland is lush and beautiful, with exceptional hiking, fishing, trekking and anything else outdoors-y you can imagine.
Plus, where you get environmental richness you also get fantastic food. Ireland offers some of the freshest, best-quality produce you’ll find anywhere – by-product of its endless acres of fertile land. Ireland’s definitely somewhere to be if you’re a foodie.
Why choose Ireland – down to business…
Or maybe you’re less sentimental. Maybe Ireland’s biggest attraction will prove the nation’s astute business mentality. In 2018, Forbes listed Ireland as the 8th best country in the world for business, with a trade balance of 3.3% and a GDP per capita of nearly USD 62,000. That puts Ireland ahead of renowned business hubs like Singapore, Switzerland, the US and Germany. While GDP growth has fluctuated over recent years, 2015 saw growth over 26% – the highest in the entire EU for two consecutive years.
Several factors contribute to Ireland’s strength as a business location. Not least, the tax environment. Ireland boasts an incredibly low corporation tax of only 12.5%, plus relaxed tax residency rules that attract international business. These factors contribute to Ireland’s overall ranking of 4th globally for tax burden. Add the rating of 1st globally for personal freedom, and you paint a picture of a very appealing place to live.
Then there’s the location to think about, especially after the neighbouring UK chose to leave the European Union. Ireland is still very much an EU country, and it’s situated perfectly for travel across the continent. Hundreds of flights run daily to and from Ireland, all over the world. Easy commuter flights across Europe allow simple and inexpensive business travel.
What Ireland does so well is tick all the boxes. For families or entrepreneurs, for business or pleasure, for lifestyle or opportunity – Ireland has a rich bounty on offer.
Which means the next question is, how do you get there?
It might be easier than you think…
The Irish Immigration Investment Programme:
As the name suggests, the Irish Immigration Investment Programme (IIP) allows investors to secure permanent residency in Ireland through investment or donation (Euro1m vs Euro500K). What the name might not suggest is how straightforward this can be.
The Immigrant Investor Programme provides a range of investment options which allows approved non-EEA investors and their immediate family enter Ireland on multi-entry visas and remain there for up to 5 years with the possibility of ongoing renewal.
The investment must be “good for Ireland, good for jobs and in the public interest”. The funds must be legally acquired and owned, not borrowed, by the investor. Investors must be of good character and must not have been convicted of criminal offences in any jurisdiction.
Net worth? They must have a minimum net worth of 2 million euros and be able to provide evidence of this.
What are the categories of investment then? The proposed investment must be in one of the following areas:
- Enterprise Investment: A minimum €1 million aggregate investment into new or existing Irish businesses for a minimum of 3 years. The enterprise can be a start-up registered by the investor. Your investment can be in a single Irish enterprise or spread over a number of enterprises. The enterprise must be registered and headquartered in Ireland and the investment must support the creation or maintenance of employment.
- Investment Fund: A minimum of €1 million investment in an investment fund for at least 3 years. Investment funds must invest in Irish businesses and projects. The route for a fund to be accepted as an investment for the purposes of the Immigrant Investor Programme is for it to be part of an application by an individual investor. There is no list of approved funds but you can read about the criteria for investment funds on the Inis website.
- Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT): A minimum investment of €2 million in any Irish REIT listed on the Irish Stock Exchange. The investment may be spread across a number of Irish REITs.
- Endowment: €500,000 to a public project benefiting the arts, sports, health, culture or education. The endowment can be €400,000 per investor if it is pooled by at least 5 individuals.
You can apply for any of the 4 investment options without committing any investment funding. If you are approved, you then invest in your preferred investment option and following this, you and your nominated family members will be issued with permission to reside in Ireland. You do not have to live in Ireland to avail of the programme, but you must visit Ireland at least once a year. You can read more information in the Immigrant Investor Programme Guidelines (pdf).
Note that applications are only accepted during certain periods
So how does it work?
The IIP follows a simple four step process: apply, approve, invest, reside.
Apply: The first stage only requires nominal application fees. You’ll share details of where you’re planning to donate, and how the beneficiary will use those funds to the public benefit of Ireland.
At this point, you probably have one big question. Is it worth me applying? In other words, how likely are you to get accepted. So let’s look at what is required.
First, you have to prove you have the funds to invest, for instance through bank statements. The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) also wants to know where those funds came from, to make sure they’re legitimate. You also have to show you can actually move that money into Ireland; that it’s not held up in another jurisdiction.
Second, you need a minimum legally-acquired net worth of EUR 2m and, when you apply, must give a detailed summary of the last year including income, investment and loans.
Third, you also have to prove you have private medical insurance, to cover yourself and your family once you’re in Ireland. This is to make sure new residents don’t become a financial burden on the nation.
Finally, you submit an affidavit of good character, prepared by a legal professional licensed in Ireland. Any family members over 16 will have to sign these, attesting they’ve not been investigated, charged or convicted of any criminal offense in any jurisdiction.
Approve: Those criteria met, INIS’ Evaluation Committee review and approve your application. As long as you meet those eligibility criteria and your investment is considered legitimate and genuinely to Ireland’s benefit, you’re likely to be approved.
Invest: Once you’re approved, you make your investment of EUR 1,000,000 (or EUR 500,000 donation). You’ll get residence permissions for you and your family members – and so the only remaining step is to begin your new life in Ireland.
Reside: Your new residence permission is granted under ‘Stamp 4’ conditions, which means you can work, study or start your own business in Ireland. There is no requirement to live here permanently to maintain this status. In fact, you need only visit Ireland once per year.
And that’s that. It’s a surprisingly simple route into one of the most attractive expat destinations in the world. So what are you waiting for?
Launch your new life in Ireland.
One of the most globalised countries in the world, with thriving international trade links and a strong international community, Ireland goes out of its way to welcome expats. The Irish Immigrant Investor Program attracts talent and wealth from across the globe, to the benefit of investors and the nation alike. For philanthropists, the IIP offers an opportunity to make a tangible difference to a community – and become part of that community.
Because community is, after all, one of Ireland’s best features. You’ll find you’re in fantastic company here – wherever you’re from, whatever your personal situation, and whatever you want to achieve.
That’s the Irish way. See you there for a Guinness.