March 13, 2012

The Irish Government plans to introduce new immigration initiatives aimed at facilitating work authorization for migrant entrepreneurs and investors.  Separately, the Irish the Department of Jobs Enterprise and Innovation (DJEI) has recently announced process changes for executing work permit application forms.

What’s Changed?

The original declaration signatures on all work permit forms are now required to be on the same page, if the page layout dictates this. The DJEI previously accepted signatures on different pages for the convenience of applicants. The signatures must now appear as noted below for the different forms:

  1.  The ICT Application Form and the ICT Renewal Application Form

    • The Host Company Declaration: part 6, page 6 must appear on the same page as the Sender Company Declaration: part 6, page 6. The overseas company must sign the declaration and forward it to the Host (Irish entity) to sign.
  2. The Green Card Application Form, the Work Permit Application Form, and the Spousal Work Permit Application Form

    • The Employee Declaration: part 5, page 6 must appear on the same page as the Employer Declaration: part 5, page 6. The employee signs the declaration and forwards the form to the Company to sign.
  3. The Work permit and Spousal Work Permit Renewal Form

    • The Employee Declaration: part 5, page 4 must appear on the same page as the Employer Declaration: part 5, page 6. The employee signs the declaration and forwards the form to the Company to sign.

The Start-up Entrepreneur Program

The Department of Justice has operated a business permission scheme for a number of years, but the conditions were considered to be too onerous. The Start-up Entrepreneur Program has been developed to make Ireland more accessible to entrepreneurs who are not nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland (non-EEA/Swiss nationals).

To qualify, an applicant must:

  • Have some form of financial backing of not less that €75,000 through business angels, venture capital providers. or a financial institution regulated by the Financial Regulator. Personal funding transferred to Ireland or a grant from a relevant Irish agency would also be acceptable (the current minimum investment is €300,000);
  • Submit a business proposal with a strong innovation component;
  • No initial job creation targets will be set (this compares to a previous initial job creation of two).

The Immigrant Investor Program

The investor scheme is designed to attract non-EEA/Swiss nationals with a successful background in business to invest in and relocate to Ireland.  A range of investment options with different thresholds applied depending on the nature of the investment:

  • A once off endowment of a minimum of €400,000 to a public project benefiting the arts, sports, health or education;
  • A minimum €2,000,000 investment in a low interest immigrant investor bond. The investment is to be held for a minimum of five years. The details of the investment will be finalized with the National Treasury Management Agency in the coming weeks. The bond will be offered exclusively to participants in this scheme and will not be tradable on any market;
  • A minimum €1,000,000 venture capital funding into an Irish business for a minimum of three years. An investment into an Irish publicly quoted company could be considered but the investment level would have to be much higher;
  • A minimum €1,000,000 mixed investment in 50% property and 50% in Government securities. Special consideration could be given to those purchasing property in Ireland, which have been enforced by NAMA. In such cases a single €1m investment in property might be sufficient. (N.B. the minimum investment threshold for mixed investments will be dependent on the type of investments proposed and will be determined on a pro rata basis).

Approved participants in both programs and their immediate family members will be allowed to enter Ireland on multi-entry visas and to remain there for a defined period, provided that needs are met from the resources of the entrepreneur/investor or other private means. No access to State benefits will be permitted during this period.

All applications for both Programs will be considered by an Evaluation Committee comprised of representatives of IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, the Department of Justice and a number of other Government Departments.

Applicants must be of good character and be able to support themselves while in Ireland.

Please note that these programs do not offer an expedited path to Irish citizenship.  Non-EEA/Swiss nationals wishing to apply for Irish citizenship in the same way and under the same conditions as all other non-Irish nationals (i.e., application after having five years of legal residency in Ireland in a non-immigrant classification not deemed “short term”, such as a student visa).

ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS

Employers must ensure that original signatures appear on the same page on the work permit application forms. As not all signatories might be in the same location, it might take a few days until all original signatures have been obtained. Pro-Link GLOBAL is available to assist its clients in preparing all required application forms and manage the visa application process with the appropriate Irish authorities.

This news alert was provided in coordination with our Ireland KGNM–Actus Business Immigration Ltd.

Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader

This content is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or final guidance for any immigration matter. Readers are reminded that a country’s immigration laws and requirements may change with little to no advance public notice. Questions regarding specific immigration matters should be addressed to your Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist.