In efforts to encourage foreign direct investment, Ireland has set up business immigration programs that allow investors and entrepreneurs permission to reside in Ireland.
Individuals who want to operate a business in Ireland have two options: the Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) and the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme(STEP). These programs offer non-EU and non-EEA nationals the opportunity to undertake business ventures in Ireland with the same freedom granted to their EU counterparts. In this way, the Irish government is able to widen the pool of investors and entrepreneurs for its economy.
The Immigrant Investor Programme(IIP)
The Immigrant Investor Programme is the investor visa issued by Irish authorities. For an investor to be eligible for this program, they must have a net worth of €2 million and above. Permissions under the IIP allows the applicant and their immediate family entry into Ireland on multi-entry visas. Conditions under this program do not require the applicant to be resident in Ireland although they must visit Ireland at least once a year . The investor visa has a validity of five years. It is important to note that the IIP does not confer to citizenship by investment. For citizenship one has to fill in an application for citizenship by naturalization.
Investment requirements under the IIP comes in four different options. An Enterprise Investment entails a sum of €1 million invested in an Irish registered business for a period of three years minimum. The Investment Fund option requires a minimum of €1 million invested into an Irish business that meets the authorities’ fund criteria. Alternatively, the investment of €2 million into an Irish Stock Exchange listed Real Estate Investment Trust will also meet IIP requirements. Another option is unveiling an Endowment of up to €500,000 towards a public project supporting the arts or education among other socially beneficial projects.
The Start-up Entrepreneur Programme (STEP)
Entrepreneurs with intentions of establishing businesses in Ireland will be able to set up through the Start-up Entrepreneurship Programme. For a start-up to be eligible, the entrepreneur must be introducing an innovative product/service that can be traded internationally. The business idea must have the potential to create at least 10 jobs and realize revenue up to €1 million by a three year period. The minimum investment required for the start-up is €50,000.
Foreign entrepreneurs attending incubators or innovation boot camps held in the Republic of Ireland are granted a 12-month immigration permission. This will enable them to apply for the STEP provided their business ideas qualify as high potential start-ups.
The 12-month immigration permission is also extended to students from non-EEA member countries holding Irish issued advanced STEM degrees. This period allows them to process STEP applications to take up entrepreneurship activities in Ireland following the completion of their studies.
How to apply
Applications for IIP and STEP are made through the Irish immigration authorities subject to a non-refundable application fee. Documentation that is required to accompany your application fee include passports for you and your dependents where applicable. If your application also covers your family, you will need to provide proof of family relationships. Proof of funds and the details concerning your elected investment or start-up will also be needed to support your application under these programs. A police report or character report from a risk management consultancy will also be necessary.
For more details and assistance regarding investing in Ireland, you can contact our expert consultants. Our highly experienced and well-informed team is ready to answer all your questions and give you all the help you might need.