Chinese accept 95% of investor residence visas
More than 260 wealthy third-country citizens pledged to invest 185.6 million euros in the Republic under the government’s “cash for visas” program last year, according to official figures.
Third-country nationals and their families can guarantee the right to live in the Republic in exchange for an investment of one million euros in social housing or other activities, or by donating six-figure sums to charitable works, as part of the Immigrant Investor (IIP) program.
Figures from the Justice Ministry show that its officials last year approved € 185.6 million in investments under the program, granting 267 people and their families the right to live in the Republic.
These investments bring to more than 1 billion euros the total amount raised under the program since its launch in 2012. Until the end of 2019, it had raised 826 million euros.
According to the department, 254 – or 95% – of successful applicants last year were Chinese citizens.
Most of those who have used the program to obtain residency rights here since 2012 are from China. Until the end of 2019, a total of 1,088 Chinese citizens had invested here under the program.
Figures for 2020 show that last year six investors came from the United States, with South Africa and the rest of the world making up the rest.
Candidates selected under the PII guarantee the right to live, study and work in the Republic for themselves and their families, according to the justice ministry.
“Their authorization remains valid for an initial period of five years including two and three years subject to meeting the stated criteria,” said a press release.
“After completing these five years, their authorization will continue to be renewed for five-year periods.”
To qualify, applicants must demonstrate that their net worth is at least € 2 million. Applicants are not eligible for citizenship. Anyone wishing to apply for citizenship must meet the criteria set out in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956.
About a third of the cash committed last year was for charities, 41% for corporate investments, 24% for investment funds, and 3% for blended investments, bonds and corporate trusts. real estate investment (Reits).
The Department of Justice approves specific investment projects and charities that can benefit from the program.
Much of the funds raised were for social housing, with figures showing that the investments were intended to support the construction of 3,500 homes between 2012 and 2019.
Housing charities, nursing homes and hospitals have also received money from non-EU citizens under this program.
In the meantime, the department has confirmed that it has audited the PII systems put in place between 2012 and 2020.
“The audit is carried out as part of the routine audits of various programs in the department, and will determine whether each project is meeting the commitments and obligations set out in the project request,” officials said.
Experts believe that Brexit could cause an increase in the number of applicants for residence in the Republic via IIP in the coming years, as it will be the only English-speaking country in the EU.
Chinese nationals and others want to settle in the EU, but prefer English-speaking countries. The UK and many European countries operate programs similar to those of the IIP.