Ep1: Proposed Changes to the Stamp 0 process (audio)

Hey everybody

I just published my very first podcast episode, and in it I talk about the proposed changes to the complicated immigration status known as a 'Stamp 0'.
For the most part the changes being proposed are quite positive, and if approved, should bring a lot of clarity and consistency to what is now a very unclear process.

You can listen by pressing the play button below.

NOTES:
00:00 Intro
00:25 Stamp 0 proposals from dept. of Justice
02:03 Summary of changes
02:43 Income requirements changes
03:17 Capital/Savings requirement
03:47 Age criteria to qualify
04:31 Quota/number of visas available
04:58 Connection to Ireland needed e.g. diaspora
06:08 USA made up 70% of past applicants
06:52 Health insurance and health assessment
07:27 Applicant applies from home country
08:19 Application form and fees
08:59 Path to Irish citizenship now possible
09:41 Family reunification
10:16 Final thoughts

Relevant links
INIS Press release
INIS information on proposals (PDF file)
Stamp 0 blog posts on IMC

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18 Helpful Comments

  1. Profile photo of Johny

    Well done Liam ,,,just listened to yur podcast ,,,,it doesnt effect me tg …but it was interesting listening to it ,,,i didnt even know such a thing existed !! till I read yur email ..but now that Trumps in the big chair ,,,yu might get a lot more listeners ,,yu did good ,,!!

  2. Profile photo of lindarosewood

    Thanks, Liam. Very helpful podcast. I have read this same document, but even so, it is helpful to listen to you going through it step by step and commenting on it. I am very grateful for the time you put into maintaining the Ireland Move Club.

  3. Profile photo of Kate

    Thank you so much Liam for keeping us posted on possible changes in Stamp 0 applications and eligibility. If the changes are approved, we will have a much better chance of moving to Ireland to retire, or even for one year so that we can apply for to stay on or be re-approved for Stamp 0.

    We have been looking into moving to Spain, as we can receive eligibility for residence prior to leaving the U.S., and possibly Canada since we thought that we would not be able to move to Ireland. Now we will wait to see if that might indeed be an option for us.

    Your work on tracking down this information is very much appreciated.

    • Profile photo of Liam

      I’m happy to keep you updated as I hear more Kate. Thanks for listening/reading. Spain is nice too 🙂 It beats Ireland for weather, that’s for sure.

  4. Profile photo of Brenda Barcelo

    Somehow the video I get when I try to listen to the Stamp 0 updates is about a passport, not Stamp 0. What am I doing wrong?

  5. Profile photo of Annie Moore

    Hi Liam. I tried to listen to your podcast Ep. 1 on Stamp 0 but the link to click on is Ep. 2 re:passports. Am I doing something wrong? Thanks for your help. Annie.

  6. Profile photo of Annie Moore

    Thanks Liam. The link is working now and I enjoyed your summary of the proposed changes which was very thorough. I may be more of a sceptic than most so there are a few issues I have with these proposals which I will summarize:

    1. Indeed the INIS statement mentions a possible path to Stamp 3 and eventual citizenship. However, it is not clear if the time spent under Stamp 0 will count towards the time required for Stamp 3. Hopefully, this will be cleared up if they indeed make these changes to Stamp 0 policy.

    2. It seems unreasonable that these detailed requirements must be met every 12 months. Especially given the high costs reported for fees and accountants. Is there not a way to reduce the burden and costs to applicants seeking only for a renewal of their Stamp 0?

    3. The “close connection” to Ireland seems extremely vague. Would it require a sponsor?

    4. The quota of 200 applicants seems rather arbitrary and ridiculously small. It implies that retirees, mostly Americans, would be a burden on Ireland rather than a benefit. I am certain that most applicants – as well as most of their Irish friends – would strongly disagree.

    5. The income limits of €40,000/60,000 although lower than originally proposed remain well above the costs of retirement living in Ireland. Also, INIS does not detail what types of income are OK and what types are not. Same with the cash requirements. How does an applicant meet this requirement? What exactly is this reserve for? In what form must this reserve be held? I hope the eventual goal will be for INIS to issue detailed guidelines so that applicants can know in advance whether they meet the financial requirements.

    6. What are the considerations used by INIS when reviewing an application to renew their Stamp 0? If an applicant’s income/cash reserve is denominated in US dollars, what happens if the exchange rate changes lightly? Would an existing Stamp 0 holder be at risk for deportation?

    7. If an existing Stamp 0 holder is required to reapply every 12 months, what is the practical purpose of the €100,000 reserve?

    8. The proposed rules discuss a possible “trade off” between net assets and net income but provide no further information on what formulas will be used. Hopefully, the final rules when published will provide such detail.

    9. The health insurance requirement is vague. Will INIS publish specific guidelines for such policies?

    10. INIS indicates that there could be a two tiered path towards receiving Stamp 0 – 1) applying under the current rules and 2) applying under the proposed rules. This is confusing. In what way are the proposed rules worse?

    As they say, the devil is in the details and I respectfully request that whenever these rules are finalized, that they also contain detailed instructions so that confusion will be minimized.

    The overriding message from INIS is that American retirees are a burden on the Irish State and therefore much stricter rules are needed to minimize their presence in Ireland. However, this makes little sense when you think about it. Retirees are not entitled to social benefits (including health care which they must provide for themselves), do not take away jobs, and do not have children in schools. What resources are they taking? At the same time, they pay VAT, stamp duty, purchase homes, cars, and spend most of their disposable income on local goods and services. In some cases even their US sourced income is taxable. When they sell their homes, they will pay capital gains tax. When they die, they are subject to Irish inheritance tax. They often purchase homes in remote rural areas that are not desirable to most working Irish. When they are close to the very end of their lives, most will repatriate back to their home countries in order to be with family and to settle their affairs. I cannot believe that any cost/benefit analysis could possibly be negative to Ireland.

    In truth, I believe that INIS is trying to be fair and I compliment them for providing a well written and thorough letter. I only wish that they had more faith in Americans who wish to retire to Ireland and have no wish to be a burden.

    • Profile photo of Liam

      Thanks for listening, Annie. And thanks for the thorough response. You made some great points

      To follow up on some of your numbered points:

      1. My guess is the clock will restart once someone achieves Stamp 0 status. However I’m speculating, so I’m looking forward to official updates on this.

      2. I totally agree with you on your #2. It’s too much of a burden to place on people, and could be seen as a way to make money from the scheme. Handling this on an exception basis would be more appropriate e.g. if someone is deemed/suspected to be a burden on the state, then they could be challenged to produce new evidence.

      3. Much of the Irish immigration system is ‘vague’ if you ask me! “Close connection” is very subjective.

      5. Agree with income requirements, however it may be to offset the costs that Stamp 0 residents would incur that Irish people of the same age would not due to their entitlements to state benefits.

      I know you are following this one closely. If you hear an update before I do, I’d appreciate if you can update us.

      Liam

  7. Profile photo of Denise Gordon

    Hi Liam:

    Any updates on the Proposed Stamp 0 Updates?

    Suggestion for your next Podcast: Purchasing a House in Ireland. How is the process different than in the USA? Do you work with a broker, real estate agent, do you work with the listing agent? Is the process for selecting an agent different than in the USA? How is the agent/broker paid? Any clues about obtaining “Price on Application” costs? Are prices generally negotiable the longer a house has been on the market? Are there Counties in Ireland more or less receptive to foreign immigrants?

    Thanks for this very helpful website!

    DAG21

    • Profile photo of Liam

      Hey Denise, Thanks for your comments. Nothing yet on the stamp 0 changes. I’ll update this post as soon as I hear.

      Thanks for the Podcast suggestion. In fact, I have been in touch with an Irish agent who I may be able to get on to talk about your topic. I know many of the differences, but it’d be far better hearing it from them.

      I’d like to give you my opinion on your last question. Irish people are generally considered very welcoming, however in smaller towns there is definitely a more clan-ish atmosphere. In fact you get that probably anywhere in the world really. I know it’s the case too in much of small-town America.
      I would say that the cities, especially Dublin, are very welcoming for the most part. Much of the employment is geared towards a multi-cultural society, e.g. foreign language roles etc. It’s pretty rare that you would hear of any kind of serious anti-immigrant issues/sentiment.

      I appreciate your positive remarks too 🙂 Thanks!
      Liam

  8. Profile photo of John Swagerty

    Liam,

    Thanks for the update. I’m following this issue closely, but am also a little frustrated by the lack of clarity on a few issues. I’m rather fortunate to have retired this year at age 55. My retirement income is about 10% under the Euro 100k/p.a. to allow my wife and I to retire to the Auld Sod. We also have 4-5 times the amount required for an emergency house purchase. So, financially, I think we’re going to be OK with the new policy, but some other areas leave me a little unsure. I know it’s asking a lot, but I was hoping I could get an informed opinion/educated guess on how you view a few other “ambiguities” in the proposed policy:

    – “Irish Connection” – If 8 of my 16 great-great grandparents were born in Ireland – does that establish connection? I’m also a member of the “Ancient Order of Hibernians”, the “Harp & Shamrock Society”, and the “Irish Cultural Society of San Antonio” – regularly attend meetings, help raise funds for scholarships, etc. Have also traveled to Ireland about once a year for the past 12 years. I guess I’m trying to say is I “feel” connected and “act” connected in the ways I’m able – are these the kinds of things INIS is looking for? Or is there something I could be doing to help my application that I’m not yet doing?

    – Capital Requirement – We’re way over this amount many times over, but most of our savings are in retirement stock funds, known in America as “401K” – we can withdraw as much as we want from these accounts at any time, with the only impact being that it creates a taxable event which increases income tax the next year. These funds are not the same as cash wasting away in a savings account at .10% interest, but they are readily accessed, and should be viewed as fungible. Will these funds meet the capital requirements?

    – Age Criteria – Do you think there is any chance a person could apply at say, age 57 or 58 and still have a chance at approval, if they met all other requirements?

    – Health Insurance – I have a very good policy that will pay for coverage world-wide, including Ireland. Will that be acceptable or MUST the insurance be purchased from an Irish company in Ireland?

    – Health Check – OK, I’ll admit it, I’m not in the same condition I was 20 years ago, but I still get around just fine, and with a couple of prescription medicines, am in quite acceptable health. Do you have any insight into the kinds of conditions that might preclude approval? I understand “major medical problems” would be disqualifying, no problem. But if a person had, say, a thyroid condition but it was fully under control with a little pill every day, do these things disqualify as well?

    Realize it’s a lot to ask for and about, and I understand you don’t work for INIS. Was just asking for you to opine on any of the questions if you had an opinion. I think we’d be most interested in applying in a couple of years, when I’ll be 58, and hopefully some of these new policy changes have been worked out better. I guess I’m mostly asking you about these things now to see if there’s something I should/could be doing in the next couple of years to give my application its best possible change.

    Thanks again for your good work!

    Sean

    • Profile photo of John Swagerty

      Nevermind…. I hadn’t seen your “Let’s Talk” link before posting. Will save these issues to discuss on the call. Thanks!

      • Profile photo of Liam

        Hi John,
        Sorry for the delayed response. I’ve been away for a few days, enjoying some sun, and just got around to seeing your comment today.
        All great questions by the way, and yes, the lack of official information is frustrating. I will send you an email before we chat, and see how much I can help clear things up for you ahead of the call.
        Regards,
        Liam

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