Ireland, located in one of the westernmost parts of Europe, has the distinction of being the only English-language speaking country in the Schengen zone.
Originally, the country whose economy was predominantly agrarian underwent a sea change to become a new economy driven by knowledge since the 80s. It has been able to attract several top international companies, so much so that Forbes named it as the best country to do business in 2013.
In addition, it has a workforce which is highly educated and corporation tax rate, which is one of the lowest ones in the world. This has led to Facebook, Google, Intel, Dell, Pfizer, Apple, Johnson and Johnson and so on to have major operations in Ireland.
All this has been possible because Irish governments encourage entrepreneurs with innovative ideas to set up shop in their country. Of course, there are certain set guidelines that the country expects investors to follow. Investors are granted visas under various schemes, including the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme, Immigrant Investor Programme and the Business Permission Programme. People from European Economic Area (EEA) and Swiss citizens need not have to obtain a Business Visa of Ireland to enter and do not need a business permission to float a venture here.
Immigrant Investor Programme allows people from outside the EEA to invest for up to five years, which can then be renewed. Immediate families of investors have also issued visas and the investors are given permission to enter and exit Ireland unrestrictedly. The investors must see to it that their business create jobs for local Irishmen and also be contributing positively to the country. But the prospective investors cannot borrow funds to make an investment. That money should have been legitimately earned by them.
To be eligible, there are certain criteria under this program. Here are they are:
- It should be a once-off endowment of minimum €500,000 to a public project that benefits arts, culture, education, health or sports. If pooled by at least five investors, the endowment could be brought down to €400,000.
- It should be at least €500,000 total investment for at least three years into existing or new businesses in Ireland.
- It should be at least €1,000,000 investment over five years in an exclusive low-interest immigrant investor bond.
- It should be at least €500,000 in a managed fund from which they would be invested in projects and Businesses in Ireland.
- It should be a mixed investment comprising at least €500,000 in immigrant investor bonds and €450,000 in a property.
STEP (Start-up Entrepreneur Programme) also allows people from outside of the EEA to invest at least €50,000 in an innovative project in Ireland. The main object of this scheme is to encourage and promote entrepreneurship which will introduce a range of innovative services or products to global markets, are headquartered in Ireland with major operations there, have an able management team with experience of leading operations, should be able generate sales worth €1 million within three to four years of starting operations, have the ability to create 10 jobs for Irish people and must not have had more than six years of operation.
Under the STEP scheme, catering, retail, personal services or similar businesses will not be covered. Unlike the immigrant investor program, no job creating targets are set in the beginning as it is understood that these businesses will take the time to breakeven.
People found ineligible for the STEP program or those wanting to start a business in sectors such as catering, retail, personal services could apply for business permission. A written permission obtained from the Minister for Justice and Equality, business permission allows people to do Business in Ireland for certain duration. But certain firm conditions need to be met if one has to apply for business permission.
Investors need to put in at least €300,000 of their own money in Irish business, they need to employ at least 2 Irish or EEA/Swiss nationals or keep employment stable in an existing business, their business must contribute to the country’s trade activity and competitiveness and they need to prove that their venture is a feasible trading activity and provides them with enough earnings to take care of themselves and their dependants without needing to take any social assistance or working in any other activity.
Investment and employment requirements do not need to be met for artists such as artists, writers or craftspeople. It needs to be, however, proved that applicants are renowned in their field.
If residency applicants prove to be successful with the STEP Programme and the Immigrant Investor Programme, then their immediate families will be granted two years initial residence, which can then be renewed for three more years. Five years after this, investors will then be eligible to apply for a long-term residence.
If you are looking to Migrate to Ireland on an investor program, get in touch with Y-Axis, a prominent consultancy company, to apply for a visa from one of its several offices.