It's March already, and with that will come a whole lot of worldwide interest in Ireland. St. Patrick's Day is one of those few days on the calendar when the whole world comes together and celebrates. It really is a great day to be Irish!

Given the month that it is, I asked folks on Facebook the other day if any of them had ever put serious thought into moving to Ireland. The question received well over one hundred responses, and a lot of people who answered (I'd say 95% or so) had some level of aspiration to move here.

For one reason or another many people obviously can't just get up and move to Ireland. There are immigration laws here, just like in most countries, and those have to be observed. However, one answer to my question really caught my attention, and I felt it deserved some further research on 'the Club' (I think I'll start calling the website that 🙂 )

The person who runs the Facebook page that goes by the name "Ireland Is My Poem" left the following comment: "My heart aches every day because I am not eligible. You have to be a brain surgeon, student, retiree, or have an Irish grandparent. I have enough money to move and set up a business, even. Not good enough for the government, apparently."

While not being completely accurate, the comment above does hold some truth for those of you who are not an EEA (European Economic Area), or Swiss national. Actually the residency eligibility requirements for anyone other than people who fall into those groups are quite strict. However, there is a list of highly skilled occupations whereby people with such qualifications can apply for a Critical Skills Employment Permit. If you have such a qualification then you have a very good chance at gaining the right to live and work in Ireland. The Irish government wants you here for a number of reasons, including you're skill is most likely in high demand and people with your skills are in short supply. It's probably also highly likely that you won't be looking for any kind of social benefits, which I'm sure must be seen as a positive too.

Investing In Ireland

So what does everyone else do?
There are ways and means to move to Ireland, but it's definitely true that not everyone can move here just because they want to, or because they feel they have some connection to the country. Students and grandchildren of Irish born citizens do have a way in, but so too do people willing to invest in the country.

Options for Investing in Ireland
Currently there are 3 options whereby people with significant financial resources can apply to live in Ireland as a result of their investment in the country.

1. Immigrant Investor Program
If you'd like to move to Ireland (and even bring along your family), and you have a significant chunk of cash to invest in the country, then you might want to consider the Immigrant Investor Program. There's an assortment of categories you can invest in, including public projects, Irish businesses, bonds, etc. Full details, guidelines and the application form can be found at this link.

2. Start-Up Entrepreneur Program
If you have a really smart business idea, and you want to launch it from Ireland, and by doing so create jobs in Ireland, then you might qualify for the Start-Up Entrepreneur Program. There is a minimum investment requirement (which is actually far less than the Immigrant Investor Program), and a few other conditions you have to meet to be eligible for this program. You can find out more information and apply to this program by downloading the correct form at this link.

3. Business Permission
If you want to start up a regular, run-of-the-mill, business in Ireland, then you might qualify for residency by applying for 'Business Permission'. Business Permission is written permission from the Minister for Justice and Equality that gives you authorization to conduct and establish a business in Ireland for a defined time period. There are a whole bunch of obligations associated to this type of investment, including a monetary requirement (which by the way is in the region of multiple hundreds of thousands), job creation requirement and more. All the official details can be found at this link on the Immigration website.

Exemptions for Writers, Artists and Crafts persons
People that fall in to the category of Writers, Artists and Crafts persons are generally exempt from and monetary or employment-creating conditions, but do have the added requirement of needing to be well known in their field and they must not need any social assistance. Without knowing the application process in any great detail, it appears as though the people that fit into this category have a relatively easy ticket in to Ireland.

To balance things up....
Not everybody who responded to my Facebook question was willing (or able) to move here. Here are a few reasons why people won't be coming here any time soon:

  • They don't want to leave their kids or grandkids behind
  • There were a few who didn't want to put their dogs through the overseas journey, or leave them behind. I brought mine with me. Multiple times, and learned a lot!
  • Visa issues seem insurmountable
  • Lack of sunshine in comparison to current home (California)
  • Availability of jobs in Ireland in their profession
  • One person didn't want to abandon their "well-stocked, organized grocery stores". We have those too!
  • Unconvinced spouse doesn't want to move.
  • Medical issues, medical insurance etc.

I would really love to hear from anyone who has successfully moved to Ireland as a result of following any of the investment procedures outlined here. Please get in touch using the contact form.