In 2012, the Irish government introduced the IIP initiative, allowing affluent individuals from other countries to obtain residency by making a financial contribution to the nation, thereby contributing to the expansion of the economic sector. Since its inception, this program has infused €1.17 billion into Ireland’s economy, with a predominant share of investments originating from Chinese citizens.
To be eligible for this scheme, prospective applicants needed to possess a personal wealth of at least €2 million. Furthermore, in order to secure residency through this program, affluent foreign nationals were required to invest a minimum of €1 million in Ireland for a period of no less than three years.
Despite drawing substantial interest from international applicants, the IIP program has frequently faced allegations of overlooking various illicit activities like money laundering, tax evasion, and corruption.
However, Ireland is not the only European country to opt for the discontinuation of its ‘residency by investment program’. Following the reports of involvement in illicit activities, Latvia made public last March that affluent international individuals would no longer qualify for its Golden Visa initiative.
Amid growing apprehensions about facilitating money laundering, corruption, and similar acts, authorities in Bulgaria and Latvia also ceased their Golden Visa Programs.
Portugal’s government also announced the deliberation of abolishing the Residency-by-Investment Scheme. On October 7, 2023, significant amendments were made to the Portuguese Golden Visa program, eliminating options for obtaining residency through real estate purchases and capital deposits and substantially altering the criteria for other types of investments. Concurrently, the Parliament is considering the 2024 State Budget Proposal, which includes plans to phase out the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) scheme.
Spain’s Golden Visa program has also faced significant scrutiny, and recently, authorities in the country confirmed allegations. An example of this is former Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, under investigation by Mexico’s attorney general office for illicit enrichment, money laundering, and illegal international transfers, who was revealed to have benefitted from this program offered by Spanish authorities.
Several countries continue to offer similar schemes, including Spain, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Greece, Italy, Malta, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, and Germany. However, the requirements, dependent on the country, can vary significantly, with some offering residency in return for a substantial and long-term financial investment, purchasing property above €500,000.00 euros or creating a certain number of jobs.
Approved applications under the Irish program will remain unaffected by its closure. Furthermore, approximately 1,500 submitted applications will be duly considered, but any new submissions will not be accepted.
While the Golden Visa is no longer available, the Irish government administers the Start-up Entrepreneur Programme (STEP), initiated in 2012. It serves as a channel for entrepreneurs with innovative ideas to seek residence permission in Ireland.
Controversy surrounds the expedited route to Irish citizenship, which is achievable in just five years. As an alternative, the emphasis is now shifting towards obtaining citizenship through long-term residency; however, this route can result in citizenship taking up to 10 years to obtain.
The landscape of visa options within the European Union (EU) is in a state of constant flux, with regulations and programs undergoing regular updates. The decision to withdraw the Golden Visa in certain EU countries was a carefully considered move, reflective of evolving governmental priorities and international concerns regarding illicit activities associated with such programs.
Amidst these changes and developments, the need for accurate and up-to-date information regarding visa and citizenship options is paramount. This is where Centuro Global becomes an indispensable resource, offering a centralised platform to access comprehensive details about various options for Irish and other EU citizenships.
Centuro Connect stands out as the go-to platform, providing a wealth of expertise in tax guidance, immigration advice, and ongoing support throughout the application process. The platform features an extensive database, offering country-specific information crucial for informed decision-making. Additionally, applicants can benefit from real-time tracking of their application progress, ensuring transparency and clarity at every step of the journey.
While the Golden Visa option remains viable in select EU countries, Centuro Global goes beyond by presenting diverse and viable alternative pathways to attain citizenship. These alternatives are thoroughly researched and curated, aiming to cater to the diverse needs and aspirations of individuals seeking to establish their presence within the EU. Get in touch with one of our immigration experts now.