Did you know that the Ireland citizenship by investment program will grand additional benefits to passport holders for residing in the UK compared to other European states post-Brexit? Ireland and the UK have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) reaffirming their commitment to the Common Travel Area Agreement. The Agreement is an official document that aims to guarantee the rights of British and Irish citizens to travel and reside freely in each other’s respective countries as was originally established under the previous Common Travel Area Agreement.
The current UK – Irish Common Travel Area was established in the 1920s and is an arrangement that significantly predates the establishment of the European Union. Shortly after Ireland acquired independence from Britain in 1923, the two governments set up the Common Travel Area in order to enable ease of travel and preserve cultural and familial links between the citizens of the two countries.
According to the new Memorandum, Irish citizens will have more rights to reside in the UK than other EU citizens following Brexit.
The UK’s departure from the EU is set to bring about a number of fundamental changes to the lives of British citizens. However, as political discussion on the subject continues, the terms on which UK citizens will be able to travel and reside in the EU and vice versa remain unclear. However, the new Memorandum makes it clear that the special UK - Irish Common Travel Area regime will remain in effect after Brexit.
Who is included in the Common Travel Area?
THE COMMON TRAVEL AREA CURRENTLY CONSISTS OF THE
UNITED KINGDOM, IRELAND, THE ISLE OF MAN, AND THE CHANNEL ISLANDS.
No border checks are carried out within the Common Travel Area. All citizens in the region are free to go anywhere of the region to work, study, live, and have the same rights as the local people, including the right to study, to receive medical care, to vote, etc. For example, an UK high school graduate can study in a college in Ireland; An Irish old man can live his best life in retirement in UK; Any Briton can go to Ireland and get a job, etc.
For the UK government, Irish citizens are different from citizens of other EU countries. Irish citizens can naturally enjoy civil rights in the UK which are not subject to any immigration provision. A child born in the UK is automatically granted British citizenship if either parent is an Irish citizen. Residents of other EU countries reside in the UK may be affected after Brexit, but Irish residents will not be affected.
This is why there is a growing number of applicants looking to live in the UK through the Irish Immigrant Investor Program, which has been growing every year since the program began in 2012. In 2018, 422 applications were accepted, hit a record high for six consecutive years of growth. Meanwhile, as the time of the formal Brexit comes, some Britons who do not want to lose their EU citizenship hope to hold Irish passports in order to retain their EU citizenship, leading to an overall surge in applications. The chart below shows that from 2018 to May 2019, there are 452 applications related to Ireland Immigrant Investor Program.
(Data from IMI/ The Department of Justice and Equality)
（Left: Number of applications / Right: Number of approvals）
What are the benefits of getting Irish citizenship?
Ireland is a member of the European Union. After obtaining Irish citizenship, you can travel, live, study and work in the 27 member states of the European Union. Because of Ireland's special status, Irish citizens can enjoy the triple benefits of "UK-Ireland-EU" after the Brexit.
In the current situation of a sharp increase in the number of applications, the timing of immigration is particularly important. British citizens are naturally eligible to apply for an Irish passport. Ireland forecasts that the number of passport applicants is likely to increase further. We suggest that customers with investment needs should apply as soon as possible. With the increasing value of Irish passport, more and more people submit applications.
Case Study Mr W and three other family members were successfully granted
Irish migrant visas through the Ireland Citizenship by Investment Program
Mr. W, aged 43 and originally from Beijing, is a successful professional in the Chinese finance industry. Mr W was exploring immigration options for his family of four, which includes his wife and two children aged 11 and 9. Having considered various options, Mr W chose to apply under the Ireland citizenship by investment program (also known as the Irish Immigrant Investor Program) in order to secure a better education for his children. When we asked Mr W about the main reasons for his decision, he explained that the key factors that influenced his decision were that Ireland is the only English-speaking member of the European Union's Eurozone, and that the minimum investment is a relatively low 1 million euros, making the cost of the investment less than half of the UK Immigrant Investor Program. Furthermore, his children are entitled to receive free, high-quality primary and secondary education, which was important because securing a better education for their children was the original purpose of the family’s relocation.
Following their successful application, Mr. W's family will now be able to apply for naturalization in four years’ time.
Ireland is an English-speaking country and ranks as the fifth richest country in the world per capita. Education from primary school to high school in the country as one the most advanced in the world, making it a great place for many families' children to study, live and later work. Following the UK’s decision to leave the EU, the Irish passport is currently the only golden passport with guaranteed freedom of travel within both the UK and the EU. As a result, more than 100,000 Britons applied for Irish passports in the year after the results of the Brexit referendum were announced. This also grants the Ireland citizenship by investment program a distinct advantage over other European options for accessing the UK.
In addition to being well known for its education, due to its favourable corporate tax regime, Ireland is the location of choice for the European headquarters of many of the world’s foremost multinationals, including members of the Fortune 500. Included in this list are 9 of the world's top 10 software companies, the world’s top 10 Internet companies, 6 of the world's top 7 medical device companies, 9 of the world's top 10 pharmaceutical companies, and half of the world's top banks and financial institutions.
Ireland's attractive corporate tax rate is only 12.5%, is lower than those found in tax heavens, Hong Kong and Singapore. Importantly, the Irish government has promised to keep its existing tax policy unchanged until 2025, making it the only government in the world that has issued an official statement of this kind.
From the perspective of potential investors, and in addition to education opportunities for children being a major requirement of customers, Ireland hosts a large number of multinational enterprises. As a result, Ireland boasts many attractive job opportunities and high starting salaries, an important factor to consider after education.
Advantages of the Ireland Immigrant Investor Program include:
• A relatively low investment of 1 million euros for the immigration of an applicant’s whole family;
• Fast processing for applications, with a decision made within an average of 3-4 months;
• No physical residence is required in Ireland. Applicants only need to visit Ireland once every 12 months to maintain their residence;
• The dependent spouse and children of the applicant are entitled to stay in Ireland and to receive benefits including free education in primary and secondary schools;
• After three years of investment, investors can withdraw their capital without affecting their visas and immigration permits; and,
• Applicants can apply for naturalization and receive Irish citizenship after four years if eligible.
To find out more about our citizenship by investment programs, please click here.