Residency Status for non-EEA Nationals and their families
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The Irish government introduced the Start Up Entrepreneur Programme and the Immigrant Investor Programme in 2012.
The purpose of these schemes is to enable non-EEA nationals and their families who commit to either a high potential start up business or to an approved investment in Ireland to acquire a secure residency status in Ireland.
Start-up Entrepreneur Programme
The Start-up Entrepreneur Programme provides that non-EEA nationals with an innovative business idea for a High Potential Start-Up business and funding of E50,000 can acquire residency in Ireland for the purposes of developing their business. No initial job creation targets are set as it is recognised that such businesses can take some time to get off the ground. The Programme is designed to facilitate participants in establishing a permanent relationship with Ireland.
A High Potential Start-Up is defined as a start-up venture that is:
• Introducing a new or innovative product or service to international markets.
• Capable of creating 10 jobs in Ireland and realising E1 million in sales within three to four years of starting up.
• Led by an experienced management team.
• Headquartered and controlled in Ireland.
• Less than six years old.
The scheme is not intended for retail, personal services, catering or other businesses of this nature.
Successful applicants can expect to receive an initial residence permission in Ireland for two years. Following a review at that point a further period of 3 years will be granted. After this initial 5 years period, successful entrepreneurs will be free to apply for residence in 5 year tranches.
Immigrant Investor Programme
The Immigrant Investor Programme is open to non-EEA nationals and their families who commit to an approved investment in Ireland.
Approved participants in the Programme and their immediate family members will be granted rights of residence in Ireland which will allow them to enter the State on multi-entry visas and to remain here for a defined period but with the possibility of ongoing renewal. The Programme aims to facilitate participants, over time, in establishing a permanent relationship with Ireland.
In order to be considered for the programme the investor must propose an investment in one or more of the following categories:-
a) A once off endowment of a minimum of E500,000 to a public project benefiting the arts, sports, health, culture or education.
b) A minimum E500,000 aggregate investment into new or existing Irish businesses for a minimum of three years.
c) Minimum E1,000,000 investment in a special zero interest 5 year immigrant investor bond. Suspended for the moment.
d) A minimum E950,000 mixed investment consisting of E450,000 in property and E500,000 in immigrant investor bonds. Suspended for the moment.
e) E500,000 invested in an approved fund.
Payment of education fees for the children of investors will count towards the above investment levels.
Successful applicants can expect to receive residence permission for 5 years. An initial permission will be granted for two years and following a review at that point to ensure the investor is continuing to meet the conditions of the scheme, a further period of 3 years will be granted. After this initial 5 years period, the investor will be free to apply for residence in 5 year tranches. The investor is not required to establish actual residence in Ireland. No minimum residence requirement is set other than the stipulation that the persons concerned should visit Ireland at least once in every 12 month period.
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