The Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence, Mr Alan Shatter, TD today announced some significant changes in the Immigrant Investor Programme operated by his Department. The changes, which were agreed by the Government this week, followed a review of the operation of the programme after its first year and are intended to make the programme more attractive to potential investors.

To date a total of 9 applications have been approved under the Immigrant Investor Programme with a project investment of over €10m and predicted employment estimated at over 123 jobs. There are however indications of further opportunities to attract inward investment and create employment opportunities.

Speaking today, Minister Shatter said “When we launched the Immigrant Investor Programme in April 2012 I deliberately avoided making any predictions on the level of interest in scheme. This is new territory for Ireland and it was not possible to predict the level of demand at that time. The approach was to allow the Programme to operate for a year and to review it to establish whether improvements could be made to the programme. This review has now been completed and while the level of interest so far has been encouraging, I believe that we can do more in this area to attract foreign investment for job creation.  With this important objective in mind, the Cabinet have agreed to my proposal that a number of adjustments be made to the pilot programme”.

The main changes, which will take effect from 15 July are:

A 50% reduction in the investment threshold for the Government Bond option from €2m to €1m.

A 50% reduction in the enterprise investment requirement from €1m to €500k.

Creation of a new category of investment in a managed fund which would invest in Irish businesses and projects. The required investment under this option will also be set at €500k.

Some smaller downward adjustments in respect of mixed investment involving property and in respect of group endowments.

Recognising the important synergy between capital investment and tertiary education, the programme will also allow for some reckonability of the tuition fees paid to Irish educational institutions for the children of investors (i.e. education fees could form part of the investment).

The revised programme will be marketed abroad making use of Ireland’s embassy network and the State agencies involved in the promotion of trade investment and enterprise.

The Minister concluded “Ireland is an excellent place to do business and has many advantages in terms of its quality of life for investors and their families. They are very welcome here and will find good business opportunities. The immigration system is already very supportive of foreign investment and the Short-stay Visa Waiver Programme introduced by my Department in 2011 makes it easier than ever to travel here.  It is already having a significant impact. Today’s initiative is a further indication of the Government’s recognition of the role that talented and successful migrants can make to Ireland’s economic development and the contribution they can make to job creation”.