Irish Immigrant Investor Programme sought after by Chinese HNWIs

Ireland is fast becoming one of the leading hubs for investment, innovation and opportunity. Its Investor programme is an attractive option that has caught the attention of mostly Chinese HNWIs.

Whilst the weather is one thing that isn’t luring foreign investors to its shores, Ireland does boast
being called ‘home’ for leading firms such as Huawei, Fujitsu, Twitter, Intel, Novartis etc. It is a hub for innovation, attracts a substantial amount of foreign investment and has an open policy for investors.

The Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) has been flourishing in terms of its traction and popularity over the recent years. In 2014 there were just over 30 applications, in 2015 double that and over the past years the applications have soared to over 3–400 annually, predominantly from China.

A snapshot of the Irish Immigrant Investor Programme

The Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) enables non-EU nationals access to its investor residency visa if they can: who commit to an approved investment in Ireland. The Immigrant Investor Programme requires a minimum investment of €1m, from the applicants own resources and not financed through a loan or other such facility, which must be committed for a minimum of three years.

  • Offer an endowment of EUR 500,000 in a philanthropic investment in Ireland or invest a minimum of EUR 1,000,000 in an approved Irish investment for a minimum period of 3 years;
  • If the investor opts to invest the EUR 1,000,000 in an investment fund, its fund managers must be regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland;
  • If the investor’s enterprise investment is in a start-up/existing Irish registered business, it should be an investment in a company that generates employment and opportunities in Ireland;
  • The investor may also opt for a EUR 2,000,000 in a Real Estate Investment Trust in Ireland listed on Irish Stock Exchange and can fully divest stocks in 5 years;
  • The investor must invest with own funds, not financed funds from a loan;
  • The investment is approved under the governing body of the Irish Immigrant Investor program, yet the outcome of it is still a private matter and the Irish government offers no guarantees as to returns/yields.

What is On The Horizon?

The Irish IIP is set to continue drawing evermore Asian HNWIs to its programme. As more applications come in, the Irish Government is tasked with ensuring the integrity of its due diligence is upheld and processing is done efficiently. Recently the Irish government offices have been taking a closer look at the IIP applications they receive to ensure that investors do fulfil the requirement of having a net worth of EUR 2,000,000 and ensuring that the funds invested are duly traceable and not on loan.

Yet, will the Irish government take steps to diversify the market of Chinese investors that are queueing up for their IIP?

Will they diversify their promotional efforts to draw in other foreign investors?

What is for certain is that the demand for this programme from the Chinese affluent classes will continue.

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