Minister Harris announces closure of the Immigrant Investor Programme
Last updated on
Last updated on
The Minister for Justice Simon Harris has today obtained approval from Government to close the Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) to further applications from close of business tomorrow, 15 February 2023.
Announcing the closure of the Programme, Minister Harris stated:
“The Immigrant Investor Programme was established over a decade ago during a time of unprecedented economic difficulty to stimulate investment in Ireland that would be of strategic and public benefit to the State.
“Since its inception, the Programme has brought significant investment to Ireland and has been operated by my department to the highest professional standards.
“However, it is important that we keep all programmes under review including any implications for wider public policy, such as the continuing appropriateness and suitability of this programme for cultural, social and economic use.
“We have also taken on board a number of reports and findings from international bodies such as the EU Commission, Council of Europe and OECD on similar investment programmes.
“Taking all of this into account, and informed by both internal and external reviews, I have recommended that it is now timely to close this Programme to new applications, and have received government agreement to close it for further applications from close of business tomorrow, 15 February 2023.”
Since its inception, the Programme has approved investment of almost €1.252 billion that has benefitted many enterprises both economic and social, including community and sporting organisations.
Applications will no longer be accepted from close of business tomorrow, 15 February 2023. The closure of the Programme will not affect existing projects or individuals already approved under the programme. The Department of Justice will continue to monitor existing approved projects in relation to the delivery and for compliance with the terms of the Programme. Current applications on hand at the time of closure will continue to be considered.
The government also operates the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme (STEP), which was established in 2012, as a way for entrepreneurs with an innovative idea to apply for a residence permission in Ireland, and this will continue.
The Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) was a pathway for non-EEA nationals to secure an immigration permission in Ireland on the basis of long-term investment in a range of options approved by Government under the Programme.
The IIP was introduced by the Irish Government in 2012 to encourage inward investment for the creation of business and employment opportunities in the State.
The programme was designed to encourage investors and business professionals from outside the European Economic Area to avail of opportunities of investing and locating their business interests in Ireland and acquire a secure residency status in Ireland.
Applicants to the IIP were required to be high net worth individuals with a personal wealth of at least €2 million. The IIP required applicants to invest a minimum of €1 million for a minimum of three years or €500,000 as part of an Endowment (or €400,000 as part of joint endowment). The funds used for an investment had to be from the applicant’s own resources and not financed through a loan or other such facility.
The IIP offered four investment options for potential investors:
Government bond and Mixed investment options were suspended in 2016.
The proposed closure of the IIP will not affect existing projects already approved under the programme. Existing approved projects will also continue to be able to source any new investors required to complete the funding of projects already approved. All existing (approved) projects will continue to be monitored by the Department of Justice in relation to delivery of the project and for compliance purposes. Projects approved by the Minister are expected to be completed as soon as possible, and no later than the timeframe set out in their business plan. Short extensions of the timeframe may be granted at the discretion of the Minister. The IIP Unit will liaise with projects in relation to any specific issues of concern to them which are highlighted at an early stage.
IIP applications on hand at close of business on Wednesday 15 February 2023 which are awaiting a decision will be considered. These applications may relate to either previously approved projects or recently submitted new projects. This includes applications relating to a number of projects where a decision has been deferred by the Evaluation Committee to allow for further consideration of certain matters.
There are approximately 1,500 cases on hand.
In addition, there are a number of projects where an application has not been formally submitted but which have been significantly developed following contact with the IIP Unit of the Department of Justice. It is proposed that such projects be given a period of three months in which to finalise and submit their applications. Otherwise, the scheme will be closed to new applications from close of business on 15 February 2023.
Detailed communications will be provided through the Immigration Service Delivery website on the arrangements applicable to the closure and winding down of the scheme.
A number of investment funds approved and regulated by the Central Bank are also approved under the IIP. However, a number of these funds may not have reached its minimum target size or be fully subscribed yet. In the interest of fairness, managers of these funds will be given a 3 month period for any further IIP applications to be made in respect of these funds.