On Tuesday 14 February, the Irish government announced the closure of the Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP). IIP applications via approved projects may be granted a grace period of three months to submit the finalised application. Any interest in IIP is the last chance and would have to apply on an urgent and immediate basis or the programme will no longer be available. Contact us now.
On 19 August 2022, Bartra Healthcare announced that it has sold a portfolio of nursing homes to Belgian Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) Aedifica for approximately €161 million. The portfolio, which has capacity for 617 residents, consists of two brand new nursing homes located in Loughshinny (Skerries) and Northwood (Santry), HSE transitional care unit in Beaumont (Artane), and the forward purchase of Clondalkin Lodge nursing home, which is currently under development.
Declan Carlyle, CEO of Bartra Healthcare. Photo was taken outside of the Loughshinny nursing home.
Declan Carlyle, CEO of Bartra Healthcare, said: “This is a very exciting and positive step for Bartra Healthcare and our team. The transaction further strengthens our position in the Irish nursing home sector, and we are looking forward to developing our services and expanding our portfolio of homes.
“Aedifica represents a great partner and fit for us regarding our ethos and values, and it is important to note that neither residents nor employees will be impacted by the change in ownership. Bartra Healthcare will also operate Aedifica’s care home that is currently under development in Crumlin.”
All of the acquired healthcare properties will continue to be operated under long-term leases by Bartra Healthcare with no impact on residents and all employee terms and conditions will be maintained.
What does the acquisition mean for IIP investors?
Bartra’s business plan for its IIP funded Nursing Homes was based on:
1. Identifying sites for a portfolio of new, high-quality nursing homes/ transition care facilities;
2. Delivering these facilities on time and on budget;
3. Staffing and operating these facilities in accordance with strict regulatory standards;
4. Once the facilities were operational, selling the portfolio to an institutional investor; and
5. Using the proceeds of sale to repay IIP investors.
Bartra has delivered on all aspects of the business plan provided to IIP investors for these homes (Clondalkin is still in construction) and will commence repaying investors in September 2022. Bartra will now move on to the next batch of Nursing Homes it intends to develop under the IIP programme, having clearly demonstrated its ability to deliver on business plans set out to investors.
This summer, we took one of our IIP investors to visit our Poplar Row social housing project in Ireland. Poole House, a new five-storey residential building conveniently located in Dublin 3, was officially completed in June this year. Our client, Mr Bruce Zheng, was thrilled to see it. He and his family invested in the project back in 2019 before construction commenced in July 2020.
During Bruce’s visit to Bartra’s head office and the Poplar Row site, our China-based Irish colleague, Richard Lenehan interviewed Bruce, who now has the Stamp 4 visa as a local PR, which has been renewed successfully, and has received his investment principal.
“I am glad that I invested in Bartra’s IIP project back in 2019. Now I am able to be here and see the project in person, see that it’s built, looking great and I can touch it; it’s real. That’s why I always love tangible assets,” says Bruce.
“I am happy to shout out to Bartra for anyone who’s looking for IIP investments. Bartra is the number one go-to company. The reason I chose this social housing project for my investment was because of Bartra’s track record and the principal repayment guarantee. I feel safe and secure with my hard-earned money.
“I also like the fact that the projects are either leased to or sold to a Local Authority or Approved Housing Body. All of these factors give me confidence in investing in Barta’s projects, especially given the shortage of housing supply in Ireland. And the money I put in can help the local community with more and better housing that also makes me feel proud of my investments.
“Some of my friends asked me why I chose Ireland. I think Ireland offers a wealth of opportunities for my family, not only is it an English-speaking country, which makes communication easier, but it’s also very well connected with EU countries, as well as the United Kingdom and the US, so we are able to access more resources and can choose to live in different places.”
Watch our interview with Bruce to learn more about his journey to Ireland and his experience with the IIP and Bartra.
Bartra social housing projects
Under its Housing for All policy, the Irish Government has clearly identified the need to increase the supply of both private and social housing as its number one priority, with a commitment to deliver in excess of 88,000 Social Housing Units from 2022 to 2030.
For Bartra, building new homes is a key part of our business. As well as providing more much-needed housing, our construction programme helps to create jobs and training opportunities, regenerate neighbourhoods and support communities across Ireland.
Andrew Ennis, Director of Investments and Structuring, says, “Our plan is to deliver at least 3,000 new homes between now and 2030, with our primary focus on the continued delivery of sustainable social housing. We want to build more homes for social and affordable rent and believe social housing – the right homes, in the right places – could play a bigger role in reducing the impact of the housing supply crisis.
“In addition to building our own homes, we are engaged in a series of partnerships with Approved Housing Bodies and the Irish State and will continue to build more homes in partnership with these organisations.”
IIP funding provides safe investments for IIP investors
Bartra’s Colmcille House, Stoneybatter social housing project, completed in 2021
The construction of Bartra’s social housing is funded by investors seeking to participate in the IIP programme.
Bartra intends to develop bundles of social housing projects where it already owns the site, to provide visibility to IIP investors on the nature of the projects that they are investing in.
Batra launched its social housing business in 2017 to assist the Irish State in the provision of much-needed family homes. Bartra has established a dedicated social housing team, which is tasked with identifying development and refurbishment sites suitable for social housing where Bartra can deliver attractive investment opportunities to investors. The Bartra team will focus on acquiring opportunistic sites, primarily in the Dublin area.
Bartra has progressed its social housing sites in line with the business plans provided to investors:
Bartra acquired a modern residential block comprising 27 apartments over five floors and a ground floor commercial unit on Pim Street in the heart of Dublin City. Refurbishment works to the value of €1m were completed in 2018 and this development is now fully let to Dublin City Council.
Colmcille House in Stoneybatter, a new development consisting of 23 apartments over six storeys located less than 2km from the city centre, was completed in 2021 and again fully leased to Dublin City Council.
Poole House in Poplar Row, a new five-storey residential building conveniently located in Dublin 3 close to the city centre, was officially completed in June 2022.
Construction is also underway on the 26-unit Clonross scheme in Blanchardstown and is about to commence on the 36-unit Clonliffe Road Scheme.
We continue to expand our social housing portfolios. One portfolio, consisting of four new sites – Old Navan Road, Clonliffe, Old Kilmainham and Broombridge – with a total cost of approximately €62.7 million, has already been fully subscribed.
Another portfolio, which consists of two new sites – Belmayne and Woodlands – with a total cost of approximately €36.2 million, is currently available for IIP investors.
Bartra Group CEO Mike Flannery says, “Bartra is fast becoming one of the largest providers of social housing in Ireland. We are committed to our projects’ quality, from location to architecture to build.”
At Bartra, we want to build more homes for the community and contribute to society by helping to reduce housing problems.
The outlook for the Irish economy is strong following its performance in the first half of 2022. Despite inflation rises which may persist and have put pressure on GDP growth, the economic recovery from the most acute effects of the Covid-19 pandemic has been robust. The European Commission revised its expectation for Ireland’s real GDP growth for 2022 down only slightly to 5.3% (from 5.4% in its May 2022 forecast), while the 2023 annual growth projection has been revised down to 4.0% (from 4.4% in May).
Image source from European Commission
Despite global economic uncertainty over the last couple of year, the Irish economy has been resilient. According to Eurostat, Ireland recorded the second highest level of GDP per capita in the EU in 2021, one place behind Luxembourg. In the nominal ranking, Ireland overtook Singapore to become the 2nd richest economy in the world, while in the Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) ranking, Ireland overtook Singapore and Qatar to become the 2nd richest economy in the world.
International trade and FDI are the key drivers of global value chains (GVCs) and they are both key contributors to Ireland’s economy. Ireland’s stock of inward FDI is one of the largest in Europe and its exports of goods and services as a percentage of GDP was 135% in 2021, according to the World Bank.
Below, we take a closer look at these two key economic drivers that contribute to making Ireland the third most competitive country in the eurozone and 11th in the world rankings.
Ability to attract investment and increase employment
Apple’s first facility outside of the US, located in Cork, Ireland (Image courtesy of Apple.com Newsroom)
Approvals of new investments and job creation by foreign multinationals in Ireland reached record levels in the first half of the year.
The Industrial Development Agency’s (IDA) mid-year results show that between January and the end of June this year 155 additional investments were pledged, up 9% on the same period last year and 10% above that recorded pre-pandemic in 2019. Of these, 73 were from new name companies setting up operations in Ireland for the first time and a similar number were located in regional parts of the country. The largest investments announced in the first half of the year included €12 billion from Intel, a new campus building at Apple in Cork capable of accommodating 1,300 staff, and 1,000 new jobs at TikTok and Workday.
“These are very strong half-year results achieved against a backdrop of a global pandemic, Brexit, considerable geopolitical uncertainty globally, inflationary pressures, supply chain challenges, climate change and energy issues, and, since the start of the year, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” said IDA chief executive Martin Shanahan, who is to step down in the coming months. He added, “We should never forget that the jobs and revenue created by multinationals helped to keep us out of recession when the pandemic hit and are now giving us the financial firepower to ease the cost of living crisis and avoid recession once again.”
Some of the leading investments secured
With regard to employment, Irish enterprises and businesses are active, particularly multinational organisations, given the significant amount of FDI. Workday’s recent announcement of the creation of an additional 1,000 jobs at their European headquarters in Dublin, which already has more than 1,700 employees, is one of many testaments to the long-term commitments multinationals continue to make in Ireland.
Job growth and a strong economy boosted the fundamentals for commercial real estate. The year-to-date rate of rental growth in the Dublin office market has surpassed expectations with prime headline rents for new high-specification ESG-compliant buildings in the city centre now circa €646 per square metre or €60 per sqft, according to CBRE’s May research report. In addition to recruitment activities in the Dublin market, there have been several significant regional job announcements in recent months, which in turn is feeding directly into the appetite for modern office buildings in cities including Cork, Limerick and Galway.
With respect to international trade, according to the latest figures released from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in May 2022, Ireland’s unadjusted exports of goods were valued at €18 billion. The increases in goods exports were driven mainly by growth in the exports of medical devices and pharmaceutical products. Exports of these goods accounted for 38% of all exports in 2021.
Ireland is the 2nd largest exporter of pharmaceutical goods and medicines in the EU
The level of employment in high tech manufacturing as a share of total employment is 29%, the highest in the EU
In terms of geographic breakdown of Irish exports, the EU accounted for 35% of total goods exports in May 2022 of which Germany was the largest importer, while the Netherlands and Belgium were second and third respectively. Total EU exports in May 2022 increased by €841 million (+15%) compared with May 2021. The USA was the main non-EU exports destination accounting for €5,416 million (30%) of total exports in May 2022.
Electrical and electronic equipment, optical and medical apparatus, and pharmaceutical products are the goods largely imported from Ireland to other parts of the world, including China and Hong Kong, Vietnam and the UAE.
The table shows the value of goods in USD exported from Ireland to China.
According to the latest available data, in 2020 Ireland exported a total of $11.9 billion worth of goods to China, up about 18% from 2019. During the last 25 years, the exports of Ireland to China had increased at an annualised rate of 22.9%, from $67.9 million in 1995 to $11.9 billion in 2020.
The main products that Ireland exported to China include integrated circuits ($6.91B), nitrogen heterocyclic compounds ($867M), and pharmaceutical products (i.e. vaccines, blood, antisera, toxins and cultures) ($567M).
Food is also increasinly imported from Ireland to China. Exports of Irish pork to China hit a record high in 2021 – 40% of the total 542 million euros (US$604.6 million) of pig meat were exported to China, an increase of 8% from 2020. Ireland is now seeking to diversify its exports of meat to the country, said Conor O’Sullivan, Shanghai-based Manager of Bord Bia, Irish Food Board, the promotional agency for food products of the Irish government. “I have noticed that food consumption here is becoming more diverse. Chinese used to eat pork mainly, but more and more people are now trying imported lamb, beef, chicken and also plant-based protein,” he said. “This is a very big opportunity for high-quality Irish foods.”
Exports of Ireland to Hong Kong had increased at an annualised rate of 6.15%, from $177 million in 1995 to $787 million in 2020. The top three products that Ireland exported to Hong Kong were jewellery ($128M), packaged medicaments ($107M), and blank audio media ($96.8M).
Ireland also exported services to Hong Kong, including financial services ($125M), and insurance services ($68.3M) along with all other business services worth a total value of $345 million in 2018.
In 2020, Vietnam imported $1.76 billion worth of goods from Ireland. The main products were integrated circuits ($1.54B), packaged medicaments ($43.3M), and pharmaceutical products ($27.4M). Exports from Ireland to Vietnam had increased at an annualised rate of 24.6%, from $7.18M in 1995 to $1.76B in 2020.
Economic and population growth have been driving structural change in Vietnam’s economy. The population of Vietnam is set to rise to 100 million people by 2024, equivalent to around one-fifth of the current EU population and 20 times the current Irish population, and the rate of urbanisation will reach 40% by 2024. Vietnam’s growing urban population and increasing disposable income have contributed to the healthy growth of consumer food service, which has led to an increase in Ireland’s food exports to Vietnam. While meat and dairy products are the largest shares of this, beverages and seafood also contributed strongly.
The EU’s Free Trade Agreement with Vietnam presents a huge opportunity, especially with the elimination of 99% tariffs and non-tariff barriers. This makes it much easier for Irish exporters of dairy and livestock food products, such as skimmed milk, cheese and meats like pork and beef. Former Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed said, “Ireland can bring particular assistance to Vietnam on the development of sustainable agriculture, but also that we can be an important source of high-quality food products for its growing population.”
In the UAE, which is home to an estimated 10,000 Irish expatriates and with a population of 9.6 million, Irish exports to the UAE rose 12%, and were close to $660 million in 2020 despite the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The main products were packaged medicaments ($121M), gas turbines ($106M), and pharmaceutical products ($96.4M). Exports from Ireland to the UAE had increased at an annualized rate of 8.56%, from $84.6M in 1995 to $660M in 2020.
Against the backdrop of high COVID-19 vaccination rates, the full reopening of the economy in H1 is boosting a broad-based recovery. Business conditions underpin sizeable employment gains, while household excess savings and wage increases support consumer spending. The contributions of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and international trade to the Irish economy have been strong and are forecast to remain robust for the rest of the year with Ireland outperforming many EU countries, and making it an attractive and competitive country for businesses and investments.
Bartra Wealth Advisors is the only leading real estate developer in Ireland that provides professional immigration consulting services in Hong Kong and offers qualified real estate investment projects under the Irish Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP). It also applies an end-to-end process to its business, from site development to operation and management, all of which lend Bartra a unique business proposition with strengths in many aspects in the industry.
As a result of its good reputation and the high-quality of services offered, Bartra Wealth Advisors received the ‘Outstanding Irish Immigration Advisory Service and Investment Immigration Project’ award from the Quamnet Outstanding Enterprise Awards 2021, an award which it also received in 2020.
Immigration by investment to Ireland is an attractive proposition with a simple application process
As of April last year, the total population of Ireland exceeded 5 million for the first time since 1851, according to figures released by the Irish Central Statistics Office in August 2021. This was due to a combination of natural increase and positive net migration which resulted in population growth of 0.7 per cent in the year to April 2021. During the period, more than 65,000 people chose to immigrate to Ireland, and many Irish chose to return home.
Ireland has become a hot spot for immigration, thanks to its welcoming immigration policies and overall favourable living conditions. An English-speaking country, Ireland is one of the few countries where permanent residency (PR) can be obtained in a short period of time and through a simple application process. Applicants can obtain a PR equivalent visa through the Irish Immigrant Investor Programme and land once a year to meet the renewal requirements. Holders of a visa for five years or more can be exempted from the landing requirements, so it is easy to achieve “immigration without moving” and applicants do not have to give up their work, business or networks. As long as one applicant applies, the whole family, including spouses or partners and children, can benefit from obtaining permanent residence status in one step on application. Additionally, Ireland has much to offer – it has high quality education and a reputation as both the Silicon Valley of Europe and a new financial center for its myriad job opportunities. Ireland’s passport ranked fifth in the world in 2021, providing holders with broad accessibility to other countries. In addition to being able to enter the European Union, Irish citizens can also work and live in the UK under the CTA agreement without a permit. Ireland has become a preferred country for investment immigration for applicants with higher incomes.
Bartra Wealth Advisors (Bartra), a subsidiary of Bartra Group, one of Ireland’s most successful property developers, specialises in providing independent Irish investment immigration advisory services for affluent families. The company has professional investment consultants and landing teams. With a large number of IIP qualified public housing and nursing home projects, a mature business model, rich Irish immigration experience, and strong business network support, Bartra has helped hundreds of families successfully immigrate to Ireland. When it comes to the IIP, Bartra is the only group that sources, builds and manages real estate projects from start to finish in Ireland.
Backed by the rich resources of its parent company and with its in-group overseas immigration arm, Bartra provides clients with one-stop-shop immigration services. Its unique business model supports clients throughout the investment and immigration process, from immigration consulting and applying for qualified IIP programmes to landing services and exiting of investments. To date, Bartra has maintained a 100% application approval rate, 100% renewal rate and 100% repayment rate.
Bartra has identified a recent surge in the immigration intentions of Hong Kong families. As a major provider of Irish investment immigration projects in Asia, Bartra raised nearly €54 million in investment in 2021, leading the Irish investment immigration market in the field of public housing and nursing home Enterprise investment. Those investing in Ireland through Bartra have successfully obtained permanent residency status, with most being approved within six to nine months in 2021, while the shortest time for approval took less than three months. During the pandemic, investors were exempt from the one-day-a-year landing requirement. By the end of 2021, Bartra had successfully processed about 400 applications for the Irish IIP, with Hong Kong families accounting for about 70 applications, reflecting the appeal of Irish immigration to Hong Kong people. Since the end of 2021, a number of investors have successfully received full repayment and interest from their IIP investments. Some intend to continue to invest in Bartra’s real estate projects, while others plan to use the funds for their children’s school fees or to reinvest in local property.
IIP projects are supported by local government with considerable return
Bartra has an excellent reputation with regard to the Irish Immigrant Investor Programme. Its projects support the country’s social infrastructure and are given priority by the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) and backed by the government’s revenue stream. They are therefore considered reliable investment projects.
Bartra’s Public Housing project, for example, has signed a 25-year lease agreement with the local government. The rent is agreed at 95% of the market rate and is index-linked. In addition, projects are debt-funded by different companies. Investing in the public housing project is low risk and 100% capital guaranteed.
Bartra’s Irish Nursing Home project is part of a nation-wide strategic plan named Rebuilding Ireland. It is not only safe and qualifies for immigration by investment, but caters to the nation’s high demand for nursing homes while the source of income is state-supported – beds are funded by HSE under the Nursing Home Support Scheme. Bartra has announced that it will spend €160 million (about HK$1.3 billion) to build five nursing homes as part of an active expansion of the company’s healthcare business to provide more nursing home beds to meet local demand. Through the IIP, Bartra raises funds from investors, the majority of which are in Asia, while providing them with Irish permanent residency.
Bartra is also the only group in the IIP that develops projects from start to finish. From sourcing to operation and management, it is all handled by Bartra Healthcare, a dedicated professional healthcare division of Bartra Group. Bartra pays great attention to the quality of projects to ensure the highest standards set out by HIQA are met.
When investing in Bartra’s IIP Nursing Home projects, clients are able to receive full principal repayment and 4% annual interest. The scheme is popular with Hong Kong clients, with some investors saying they can take advantage of the 20% interest earned at the end of the 5-year investment period, amounting to around HK$2 million, to pay for their children’s education or to buy property in Ireland.
Caring for employees and customers is key
In addition to catering for the needs of its customers, the safety of employees is a priority for Bartra. During the pandemic, the company fully supported its employees while keeping operations going. The company regularly distributed masks to local and overseas staff and introduced flexible working arrangements.
For customers, in addition to sending monthly company newsletters, quarterly project construction reports and company news by email, Bartra’s marketing team put resources into the company’s online platforms, providing more online resources including articles, videos and social media content, while also organising a number of online events and webinars covering various topics including the benefits of Irish immigration, tax and insurance planning, advice for overseas studies, Irish property market overviews, job market updates, and information on immigration options and their risks.
With regard to its projects, each one boasts on-site, real-time video cameras so clients can see the construction progress of their investment properties via their mobile devices. In response to the need for sustainable development, Bartra’s projects incorporate elements of green building, including the provision of green space and the installation of rooftop solar panels. In addition to nursing homes and public housing projects, the Group is committed to developing co-living projects funded by the government, creating youth communities and providing more and different types of local housing. The group also develops renewable energy projects to improve wind power generation in response to environmental protection and sustainable development goals in line with the company’s vision of creating a better future for everyone.
Overall, Bartra’s IIP projects have been well received by Asian investors. In addition to its headquarters in Hong Kong, Bartra operates in key cities in mainland China, including Shanghai, Beijing and Shenzhen, as well as Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. In 2022, it plans to move into the Hanoi market and explore opportunities in India and the United Arab Emirates.
Book an appointment to speak with one of our consultants.