The Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) is to stop taking further applications from close of business today (15 February).
Minister for Justice Simon Harris (pictured) said that he had received Government approval to close the scheme, which was set up more than a decade ago to stimulate investment into Ireland in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis.
The European Commission last year called on EU governments to end such programmes, citing risks to security, as well as concerns about the potential for money-laundering and tax avoidance.
Under the IIP, applicants had to be individuals with a personal wealth of at least €2 million, and were required applicants to invest a minimum of €1 million for a minimum of three years, or €500,000 as part of an endowment.
IIP closure ‘timely’
Minister Harris said that the programme had brought significant investment to Ireland, adding that it had been operated “to the highest professional standards” by the Department of Justice.
“However, it is important that we keep all programmes under review – including any implications for wider public policy, such as the continuing appropriateness and suitability of this programme for cultural, social and economic use,” the minister stated.
“We have also taken on board a number of reports and findings from international bodies, such as the EU Commission, Council of Europe, and OECD, on similar investment programmes.
“Taking all of this into account, and informed by both internal and external reviews, I have recommended that it is now timely to close this programme to new applications,” he said.
The closure of the IIP will not affect existing projects or individuals already approved under the programme, and around 1,500 applications currently on hand will continue to be considered.