Thursday, 7 February 2019

Ceisteanna (123)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Ceist:

123. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the historical facts, take-up and status of the passports for sale scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6055/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I understand the Deputy has since clarified that he is referring to the Immigrant Investor Programme of the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department. However, I want to be absolutely clear that the State does not operate a ‘passports for sale scheme’ and that an investment under the Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) does not confer any preferential entitlement to citizenship or an Irish passport.

The IIP was introduced in April 2012 to encourage inward investment to create business and employment opportunities in the State. The requirement for investment in an enterprise in Ireland is €1m per individual investor.

The IIP provides non-EEA nationals with a number of options to invest in Ireland, and successful applicants are granted a permission to reside in Ireland for a fixed period. An investment of €1 million in projects must be made for a minimum of three years, which may be renewable following a review.

If the investment is withdrawn or an investor fails to comply with any of the terms and conditions of the programme, the permission to reside in Ireland maybe withdrawn. An Evaluation Committee comprising representatives of a number of Departments and State Agencies considers the applications.

A breakdown of the number of approvals and the overall value of approved applications - information which has been provided in previous parliamentary questions - is reproduced below for ease of reference.

Application Year

Number of Approved Applications

Total Value of Approved Applications

2012

5

€2,500,000

2013

14

€10,650,000

2014

30

€14,950,000

2015

65

€35,250,000

2016

272

€154,100,000

2017

294

€269,500,000

2018

38*

€32,000,000

TOTAL

718

€518,950,000

*It should be noted that a total of 420 applications were received in 2018 of which 379 are currently being processed. Decisions on a significant number of these applications are expected in the coming weeks once processing has been completed.

A major external review of the IIP is underway and a tender process will be launched shortly to select a suitable candidate to undertake an independent evaluation. It is expected that the review will be concluded in the first half of 2019.