Schengen Visa

3,000 Applications for Irish Golden Visas Await Examination Following Program Termination

About 3,000 applications for Golden Visas are still waiting to be examined by Ireland’s Department of Justice following the closure of this program by the government earlier in March this year.

The Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP), also known as the Golden Visa Scheme, which gave foreigners the opportunity to acquire residency in this country if they made a specific amount of money investment, was terminated in February this year following reports of its involvement in illegal affairs.

The decision was confirmed by Ireland’s Minister of Justice, Simon Harris, reports.

Department of Justice secretary general Oonagh McPhillips told the Dáil’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that there were over 1,316 applications for the Golden Visa, stressing that the number was “really going through the roof”.

Besides, according to an Irish Times report, there were a further 1,350 applications this year before the abolishment of the program.

The IIP was introduced in 2012, and until its abolishment, it brought to the country a total of €1.17 billion to the country’s economy.

McPhillips said the scheme did have a “positive impact”, but she stressed that “It’s whether that positive impact outweighs the significant risk … that’s what we had to assess, and our assessment was it no longer did balance that risk”.

Despite the significant contribution to the economic sector, the scheme was often criticized for being involved in several illegal acts, including tax evasion, money laundering and corruption.

Department official William O’Dwyer confirmed that, at present, there are about 3,000 applications on hand.

“It’ll take a few months to work through the issues and to examine the applications in detail”, he pointed out in this regard.

Last month, the European Parliament reiterated that the Golden Visa scheme of Ireland was vulnerable to abuse, as the same helped those benefiting from it to commit the crime of tax avoidance.

In order to benefit from the scheme, foreigners were required to have a minimum net worth of €2 million investment and over €1 million available for the acquisition of three years, among other conditions.

The report also revealed that the main beneficiaries of this program were citizens of China.

In March this year, authorities in Ireland stressed that about 100 people were rejected from Ireland’s Golden Visa Program after filling out an application to the government’s secretive program.

Besides, the statistics also revealed that nearly 500 people who planned to acquire residency in Ireland through this scheme withdrew their requests before they could be processed by the Department of Justice.