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Ireland is becoming an increasingly popular immigration choice for Hong Kongers. Unlike some other immigration options, Ireland has less high-risk investment options and a comparatively shorter waiting time. As the 5th wealthiest country in the world and the highest GDP in the EU, Ireland offers a wealth of opportunities for Hong Kongers to explore. The English-speaking demographic, excellent working conditions and high quality of life combined with its premium healthcare, first-rate education system, and rich cultural history present a comfortable transition for those looking to relocate and find a potential new home in other countries.
There are a few ways to immigrate to Ireland and obtain Irish citizenship if you are not born in Ireland or married to an Irish citizen. A non-EEA (European Economic Area) national can either apply for an Ireland Work Permit, an Irish Green Card, or do it through the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme or the Immigrant Investor Programme in Ireland (IIP).
The Irish Work Permit allows individuals to work in Ireland on a temporary basis in order to undertake a specific position of employment with a particular company. To prevent displacement of Irish workers, these individuals have to go through a labour market needs test. The Irish Green Card is designed for those looking to enter the country with valuable skills, qualifications, and experience in specific sectors where a skill shortage has been identified. Although both of these are temporary, it can lead to permanent residency with time.
Non-EEA nationals can also choose to go through either the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme which allows individuals with an innovative business idea and a minimum investment of 50,000 euros to set up a business in Ireland or the Immigrant Investor Programme Ireland which requires individuals to invest a minimum of 1 million euros for at least three years. Out of these three options, the Immigrant Investor Programme provides the easiest and simplest method of Ireland immigration.
Established by the Irish Department of Justice and Equality in 2012, the Immigrant Investor Programme in Ireland was designed to stimulate investment in Ireland and offer residency to successful business professionals. This Ireland investment immigration opportunity is open to non-EEA nationals who commit to an approved investment of a minimum of 1 million euros in private equity, venture capital funds, or the specially created low-interest government bonds in Ireland for at least three years. The funds have to be from the applicant’s own resources, legally acquired, and not financed through loans or other similar facilities. The programme covers all immediate family members, including dependent children up to 24 years old where they are entitled to free education in Ireland and have access to world-class universities in Europe.
Under this Irish immigrant investor programme, individuals can apply for a permanent residence permit after completing the initial two-year permit and extended three-year permit. After these five years, individuals can renew their visas in 5-year blocks. Subsequently, after eight years of residency, individuals become eligible for naturalization, provided that immediately before the date of the application, the individual has stayed in Ireland for a consecutive 365 days and that during the eight years preceding, the total days spent in residence amounts to four years. If individuals meet this requirement, they can attend an interview and pass an Irish examination on culture, history, and values of the country to become an Irish citizen. Since dual citizenship is recognized and allowed in Ireland, individuals can continue to keep their original passports while taking advantage of Ireland’s powerful passport access that allows you to get into 185 countries in the world.
IIP Applicants can choose from a few different options. The first is the ‘Enterprise Investment’ option which requires a million euros to be invested into a single or multiple new or existing Irish businesses for a minimum of three years. Applicants selecting the ‘Investment Fund’ option need to invest a million euros into an investment fund that fits the specific criteria of this programme. A minimum of two million euros must be invested in a single or multiple Irish Real Estate Investment Trusts for the ‘Real Estate Investment Trust’ option. Lastly, the ‘Endowment’ option involves 500,000 euros to be donated to a recognized charity benefiting the arts, sports, health, culture or education.
All of these options necessitate the applicant to have a minimum net worth of 2 million euros and no criminal record. The applicant has to be self-sufficient and has evidence of the funds with its source that will be used for the investment. Unlike the Irish Work Permit or the Irish Green Card, individuals are not required to actually establish residence in Ireland, but instead, they just have to visit Ireland at least one day per year.
Note that applications are only accepted during certain periods, so make sure to check before applying.
The immigration application process can be quite complex and consuming. As a professional immigration consulting service, Simard & Associates helps clients in Hong Kong and other Asia Pacific regions who are interested in immigrating to other countries. Our attentiveness to your preferences, needs, conditions, and financial situation allows us to provide immigration solutions that work for you. Get in touch today with our team of dynamic immigration lawyers, consultants and global immigration experts to realize your immigration plans and achieve your immigration ambitions. With our experience, proven track record, and understanding of immigration solutions, we can provide comprehensive assistance in handling and guiding you through every step of the application process.