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.

Invest in high-income Irish property

Many of our clients may know, renting or buying a property in Ireland is extremely difficult due to its severe supply constraints. Because of the supply-demand imbalance, coupled with other factors such as its fast-growing economy and world-class education, more people are moving to Ireland than ever before, investing in real estate in Ireland can be uneasy, but highly profitable.

While there are no restrictions on nationality when purchasing property in Ireland, the property is low priced comparatively with developed English-speaking countries such as the UK and the US, but rents are relatively high, many buy-to-let investors have been finding the highest rental yields in Ireland amongst European countries in recent years, benefiting from the capital growth at the same time.

We previously provided a guide to buying a property in Ireland, in this article, we are going to discuss what makes Dublin’s buy-to-let property scheme attractive.

The two main sources of income in a buy-to-let investment are rental yield and capital growth. These are very different terms that describe the two income streams a property can deliver. It is also important for investors to understand the price-to-rent ratio which provides insight into a given property’s potential return on investment.

Rental yield and rental price performance

One of the most important metrics for an investor to consider is the rental yield they can receive. Rental yield is based on you letting your property out to a tenant and what you can expect the rental income over a year. Understanding the average rental yields in a property market is vital for making an informed decision for choosing a property for investment.

Irish properties provide higher average rental yields than many popular property investment global cities.

Country Rental Yield

Although it is one of the best countries to invest in rental property, Ireland is not usually found on the list of the best countries for real estate investment due to a reason – availability of stock. Stock of residential property has always been a problem in Ireland and the problem continues to worsen. The number of houses for sale dropped 26% in three years up to September 2022. Furthermore, many new developments are snapped up by institutional investors, further reducing the availability of stock for individual investors to enter the market.

In terms of rental prices performance, according to the property website daft.ie, Irish rental prices rose the most on record in 2022 with increases of 20% in some cities. In Q4, average rents were 13.7% higher than the same period in 2021.

Which is best to buy for investment: 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom or 3-bedroom apartment?

Property Types

When it comes to an investment property, bigger is not always better. Firstly, 1-bed and 2-bed appeal to the widest rental market compared to 3-bed properties, which means they are in higher demand and would minimise rent lost due to shorter vacant periods. Secondly, 1-bed and 2-bed typically provide stronger yields as the 3-bed property requires a higher capital entry point. Last but not least, in the exit strategy for an investment property, 1-bed and 2-bed have a stronger secondary market as they appeal to more owner-occupiers and have lower furnishing costs than a 3-bed property.

There are many advantages of investing in a 1-bed apartment for investors to invest in the Irish property market for the first time:

  • It has a lower capital entry point compared to a 2-bed apartment.
  • It is cheaper and easier to furnish than a 2-bed property.
  • It has a lower maintenance cost.
  • It appeals to young professionals and graduates, as well as young couples.

Buying 1-bed apartments is a good investment choice within the buy-to-let sector in the greater Dublin area. This is largely down to their appeal to a wide rental demographic, and because remote working is becoming a new norm for many companies in Dublin, many people would rather stay away from the city centre but in a less busy, more relaxing environment to live.

In Dublin some popular districts, gross rental yields range from 6.19% to 7.96%, which are generally considered excellent yields. One-bedroom apartments will earn relatively more than two-bedroom apartments. To earn higher returns, buy smaller units.

Capital Growth

Another important source of income in a buy-to-let investment is capital growth. Capital growth is your profit earned on a property purchase and is based on the capital rises that you may experience as property prices go up.

According to Irish Central Statistics Office (CSO), in July 2022, the national residential property price index rose strongly by 13.1% from a year earlier, up from a y-o-y increase of 8.48% in the same period in 2021. The latest data from the Property Price Register (PPR) revealed that Irish house prices were up 8.9% in the first three months of 2023.

10-year Irish residential property price

The graph shows the 10-year residential property price index in Ireland. Source from Central Statistics Office.

According to PPR’s same set of data, Dublin remained the most expensive county with the median price of homes sold in the first quarter of 2023 up 8.1% year-on-year and 1.2% quarter-one-quarter.

Investment properties in Dublin and the surrounding areas are anticipated to be benefited from a price increase. When considering the best places to buy in Dublin, you may want to consider the up-and-coming areas around the city, which provide amenities for families and commuters looking for the perfect balance between city life and quiet neighbourhoods. While your rental income may be less than the one of a property in the city centre, you will likely pay a lower purchase price. This means your overall yield and profit are healthier than if you opted for a smaller property in Dublin’s most elite districts.

Dublin property vs London property

Dublin property vs London property

Many people like to invest property in the UK, but many of them do not know Ireland can offer better value. We can compare the properties of the two places from their price per square metre (psm), rent per month, and price-to-rent ratio.

Dublin London Apartment Price

Investors can enjoy a 1.5 times larger space purchasing an Irish property than in the UK, for the same capital amount and a similar growth rate of property price.

Dublin London Rent per Month

UK and Ireland Rental Yield

From a rental perspective, although rents in some city centre locations are higher in London than in Dublin, the property price is lower in Dublin, offering stronger rental yields (data refer to the table above). investors would also have to take the carrying costs into account, those are the fees for owning a property, for example, the property management fees, and usually the fees are lower in Dublin than in London.

Price to Rent Ratio

Investors are suggested to consider the price-to-rent ratio when investing in a property. The ratio is an essential indicator because it provides insight into a given property’s potential return on investment (ROI). Generally speaking, a lower ratio indicates that the property has good potential to generate long-term returns, while a higher ratio suggests that the property may not provide adequate returns over teams, and is less likely an investor can achieve positive cash flow from renting the property out after deducting from operating expenses and mortgages. A good price-to-rent ratio is considered to be 15 or lower indicating that investing in real estate in that area would be more profitable for renting.

Malahide property

The expected rental income of this Malahide project is around €2,250 for a 1-bed unit and €2,700 for a 2-bed unit, offering gross rental yields of about 5.6%-6.5%.


Properties provide an excellent hedge against inflation that attracts many investors who are currently expanding their property portfolio. Ireland ranks highly as a strategic location for investors seeking to secure long-term income generated by property investments. Dublin and its surrounding areas offer a stable housing market with the potential to generate high rental income as well as to make great ROIs on the right properties, making it an excellent location for global property investors.

Guide to buying a property in Ireland

Ireland has become a hugely popular immigration destination in recent years. High quality of life, excellent education, a robust economy, and an abundance of job opportunities are just a few of the many factors that have led to its growing popularity.

For those who plan to stay in Ireland, buying a house to live in or for the family makes perfect sense. There are no residency-based restrictions to buying property in Ireland. You can buy property here if you are an Irish citizen, EU/EEA citizen, non-EEA national, or even non-resident in Ireland.

However, due to its growing population, strong employment market, and coupled with a very tight housing supply, property buyers and investors can often find it difficult to buy a residence in Ireland. This is most evident in Dublin and in other prime locations. A 1-bedroom or a 2-bedroom apartment can be snapped up by the local market very quickly with the average time to sale agreed to be about 2-3 months, some only take a few weeks, indicative of a tight market.

The housing demand remains strong despite the uncertain economic environment posted by events in Ukraine, higher energy prices, CPI inflation, and European Central Bank (ECB) rate hikes. Transactions are currently still being agreed above the asking price as the demand remains high.

From an investment perspective – historically, real estate has proven to be a stable investment during inflation with a high chance of value increase. Ireland offers strong economic stability, and investing in property in Ireland is not only safe but also profitable due to yields that can go beyond 5%.

It is an exciting opportunity to own a property in Ireland right now, however, you may want to pay attention to the following information.

Property budgeting and mortgage

Budgeting and mortgage

When buying a property in Ireland, there are some associated costs a buyer would have to consider, such as legal fees, insurance, and stamp duty. Allow about 3-5% of the purchase price to cover the costs of buying your new home in Ireland.

Stamp duty applies to both new and second-hand property. Stamp duty is applied every time you become the new owner of a property. The current rates are 1% of the first €1 million paid for a property and 2% on any amount above €1 million.

For example, if you buy a house for €1.3 million, you will pay €10,000 (1%) on the first 1 million and €6,000 (2%) on the remaining €300,000.

Where VAT applies stamp duty is calculated on the property price excluding vat.

Stamp duty is usually paid when you complete the process of buying the property and your solicitor will usually arrange this for you.

If applying for a mortgage, it is uneasy for foreigners. You will usually need to be living in Ireland for at least 6 months and have been in employment for at least 12 months before most lenders (i.e. banks) will consider you for a mortgage.

It can sometimes be easier for an “expatriate” to get a mortgage when someone is returning to Ireland after being abroad for a few years. Some Irish banks will not even consider lending to someone who lives outside Ireland and doesn’t have most of their income in Euros.

Energy rating

All homes for sale must have a Building Energy Rating (BER). The BER tells you how energy-efficient your home is. A-rated properties are the most energy efficient while G-rated homes are the least energy efficient. When choosing a property to buy, considering its energy rating is important, not only does it help lower energy use, but also houses with a good energy efficiency rating can fetch almost 10% more than a comparable property with a low BER rating.

The Solicitor and the power of attorney


During the property purchase process, it’s advisable to have sound legal advice from a party acting in your interest, especially when you are not able to stay in Ireland to manage the purchase process, you can nominate a solicitor based in Ireland to represent you throughout the whole legal process and grant your solicitor power of attorney.

Solicitors’ charges vary substantially, however, a good solicitor who is experienced in representing buyers from overseas can help you avoid or deal with common problems, and that will save you a lot of time with less hassle, this is usually money well spent!


It is important for property buyers to apply for an Irish PPS Number (equivalent to a National Insurance Number) personally before purchasing a property in Ireland regardless of whether you are a resident or non-resident. You are not permitted to complete a significant financial transaction without the PPS Number. Your solicitor can advise you on this if you are not sure where to start.

The buying process

In order to secure your chosen property and have it taken off the market, you would normally be required to make a reservation with a deposit, then usually pay 10% of the property’s cost within a few weeks of signing a contract which your solicitor sends to the seller’s solicitor. The balance of monies due is payable on property completion.

Requisitions on title

Between signing the contract and paying the remainder of the monies owed, your solicitor will draft a purchase deed and ask the seller’s solicitor a range of standard questions (known as Requisitions on Title) regarding the sale of the property. Note, at this point you as the buyer have committed yourself to purchase the property (providing the answers to the requisitions are satisfactory), but the seller is not committed to selling the property until they sign the Deed of Conveyance prepared by your solicitor.

Buying a house is not only exciting, but it’s one of life’s achievements. Property is also a great investment asset to own for creating passive income and long-term wealth. We at Bartra are always here to advise our clients where to live and where to buy in Ireland. Interested in buying a property in Ireland? Contact us now.

Read on for more published content about Ireland property: Our colleague Richard Lenehan met Jonathan Dowling, who works for Bartra New Homes, in Dublin’s prime residential district Blackrock to check out the Glensavage Estate and learn more about the residential buying process for overseas buyers. Click to view the video.

Ireland IIP Key Benefits: Approval First, Invest Later

The Irish Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) is gaining in popularity among affluent families looking for alternative residency in an English-speaking country where they can enjoy better education and quality of life. In addition, there are a number of other benefits that the IIP offers.

The IIP used to be undervalued, but that is no longer the case today, particularly post-Brexit and following the UK’s shut down of its investor visa route. As of September 2022, more than 1,600 IIP applications have been approved for investment with a value of over €1 billion, and last year alone there were around 900 applications, an all-time high in the IIP’s history. For those who are not familiar with the IIP, read our previous blog highlighting the 4 things to know about the Ireland IIP, or watch our explainer video. Here, we will focus on one of the IIP’s key features – investing only after approval is received, and what that actually means to an investor.

Safety and liquidity planning

Most Residency By Investment (RBI) programmes and Citizenship By Investment (CBI) programmes require the applicant to invest first.

To qualify for Australia’s Investor Stream Visa, for example, you will need to commit at least AU$2,500,000, with your investment allocated according to set criteria, and processing your application can take more than 20 months. Under the US’s Immigrant Investor Program or EB-5, applicants are required to invest a minimum of US$1,050,000 for standard investments or US$800,000 for investment in a commercial enterprise principally doing business in a targeted employment area or in a regional centre-associated infrastructure project. EB-5 processing can take 2 to 3 years for the Standard I-526 petition to be adjudicated, and the investor’s capital must be placed “at-risk’” until the end of conditional permanent residency with a chance for gain and a risk of loss — without any guarantees of return of capital.

Ireland’s IIP is a rare RBI programme in that the applicant’s investment is not required to be made until the application has been approved. After applying for the IIP, processing is straightforward and approval usually takes between 6 to 8 months. Whether you are choosing the €400,000 Endowment option or the €1 million Enterprise Investment option, applicants who are successful will be issued with a pre-approval letter from the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Services (INIS) inviting them to make their investments, which must be made within 90 days of receiving the letter. Once an applicant fulfills the investment requirements, they and their qualifying family members will be granted residence permission in Ireland under Stamp 4 conditions, which is equivalent to a Permanent Residence status.

Under the IIP, investors do not need to liquidate their assets upon application. They have about 6-8 months to cash out their investments, or to pledge their assets to secure loans at a suitable interest rate so they do not have to sell off their portfolio. Compared to other RBI programmes, the IIP offers greater flexibility for investors to plan their finances, with better clarity investing in IIP-qualified projects once approvals are received. Additionally, capital is protected when investing in the IIP Enterprise option.

Asset diversification

Ireland continues to rank highly as a strategic location for investors seeking to secure long-term income generated by real estate investment and funding according to EY Ireland. Factors include its growing popularity, attractive employment demographics, high levels of FDI, favourable supply and demand dynamics, robust legal system, improving infrastructure system and strong performance of certain real estate asset classes.

Investing in the IIP’s much-needed social infrastructure projects, such as social housing and nursing homes, is very safe. Demand is strong as more people require housing due to a growing and rapidly aging population, with the latter requiring more homes and facilities to provide long-term specialised elderly care. Many institutional investors, including private equity-owned companies, are in favour of adding these assets to their portfolios to meet long-term investment objectives, especially if they can achieve economies of scale. For example, Bartra Healthcare successfully sold three nursing homes and one transitional care unit as a portfolio to Belgian REIT Aedifica in 2022, for about €161 million.

For IIP investors, investing in Bartra’s nursing home projects offers 4% annual interest throughout the five-year investment period, which is €200,000 at maturity on top of the investment principal. Investing in the IIP is also a Euro-based investment, which offers currency diversification for investors.

Click here to learn more about the IIP.

Poplar Row social housing – client Bruce Zheng shares his IIP journey

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.

Ireland Economy Latest – H1 2022

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.

The power of the Irish passport

The power of a nation’s passport is a reflection of the strength of the country – both economically and politically – in relation to other countries.

Since 2006, immigration consultants Henley & Partners has been using data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to rank the powerfulness of the world’s passports according to the number of places in the world their holders could travel visa-free. But there is so much more that comes with a powerful passport than simply ease of travel, from the chance to enjoy an improved lifestyle to business opportunities to family protection.

This year’s list of the world’s most powerful passports saw Ireland rank in joint fifth position with Portugal, placing ahead of other popular immigration destinations including the US, UK, Australia and Canada, and offering holders visa-free access to 187 countries.

Benefits of holding an Irish passport 

Not only can Irish passport holders live, work or study in Ireland, where they are guaranteed certain fundamental rights according to the Irish Constitution, including access to free primary and secondary education, the right to vote in Irish elections and be elected to government, and diplomatic support outside the country, but the Common Travel Area (CTA) arrangement between the UK and Ireland means they also have the right to live, work or study in the UK and to vote and access social welfare benefits and health services there.

With strong ties to Europe and as a member of the EU, Ireland’s citizens can also live, work, or study in any of the 27 EU member states as well as in any European Economic Area (EEA) country (this includes EU countries as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway). They are also granted the opportunity to vote in European elections and can apply for a European Health Insurance Card enabling access to state-provided healthcare in EU, EEA countries and in Switzerland.

Further afield, Irish passport holders enjoy visa-free travel to the US; only ESTA approval is required. Travel to Australia and Canada is also via an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).

Another key benefit of the Irish passport is that it can be held along with another passport as Ireland allows dual citizenship. If you become an Irish citizen, you can remain a citizen of another country, which not all nations allow. Neither Singapore nor Japan, for example, which jointly topped the 2022 list of the world’s most powerful passport, allow dual citizenship.

The Irish passport is easy to hold and renew with online services offering fast, secure and convenient renewal. Passport holders can also obtain a passport card, a credit-card sized document that can be used instead of the traditional Irish passport book when travelling in the EU, the EEA and Switzerland. It can be obtained at the same time as the Irish passport (for a higher fee) or can be applied for separately.

Eligibility requirements for citizenship and passport

Those with parents who hold an Irish passport are entitled to Irish citizenship – and in turn, Irish citizenship can be passed to your children. Citizenship is also achieved through naturalization, where a person must have been physically resident in Ireland for a certain length of time. Applicants must have spent five years in Ireland, with each year’s absence not greater than six weeks, or they need to be resident there for at least five years (1825 or 1826 days) over a nine year period with a continuous residency over the 12 months prior to application. Age and character are also taken into account – applicants must be over 18 and of good character – the Garda Síochána, Ireland’s national police, will file a report on the applicant, and background and any criminal record or ongoing proceedings will be considered.

The IIP is a step towards Irish citizenship and an Irish passport. By investing in the IIP, residency can be obtained simply and quickly with a processing time averaging between four and six months. The IIP also allows applicants to add their spouse and any dependent children below the age of 24 to their application. While the IIP does not require long periods of residency for the applicant to maintain their residency (requiring just one day’s stay in Ireland per year), should citizenship and the Irish passport be the goal, the residency requirements for naturalization need to be adhered to. Children who are given a resident status, study in Ireland and reside there for five years can apply for citizenship individually at the age of 18, so parents have greater flexibility to travel and can avoid long-staying resident requirements in the country.


The benefits of the Irish passport are manifold, from being able to settle in Ireland and be guaranteed certain fundamental rights, to the opportunity to travel freely and live, work and study in a number of other countries. These advantages are also greater than some of those offered through citizenship in other popular investment immigration destinations. On top of that, any existing citizenship can be maintained alongside Irish citizenship. Given the ease of gaining residency through the IIP, investment is the first step of an attainable and rewarding journey to Irish citizenship.

For more information on the IIP and applying for it, please contact your Bartra consultant or get in touch.

Healthcare in Ireland and insurance planning for immigrants

If you’re thinking about making the Emerald Isle your home, fáilte! There is plenty to get excited about when it comes to living in Ireland, but before you move, it’s important to ensure you and your family have adequate health insurance.

Some of the challenges that immigrants face when it comes to healthcare services include language barriers; difficulties in arranging care without medical insurance coverage; lack of familiarity with the healthcare system; cultural differences; divergent understanding of illness and treatment; negative attitudes among staff; and lack of access to medical histories.

In this article, we look at the healthcare and medical services available in Ireland and speak to an insurance expert to understand more about insurance planning prior to moving abroad, the types of insurance emigrants should keep or forgo when moving overseas, and the insurance policies that can be used for tax planning.

Ireland’s healthcare and medical services

Ireland offers high quality and advanced healthcare and medical services. For families and individuals immigrating to Ireland, there are various routes to accessing healthcare:

GP – Access to a doctor, or general practitioner – GP for short – is essential for general health issues and non-emergency illnesses. A list of local GPs can be found on the website of the Health Service Executive (HSE), and registration with a practice can be done by providing name, address and PPS number. Unless it’s an emergency, GPs are the gateway to the Irish hospital system. If you need any hospital service, your GP will usually refer you to the place or person you require. For example, if an X-ray, blood test, scan or other procedure is necessary, your GP will tell you where you should go. He or she will also provide you with a letter of referral. Similarly, your GP will refer you to a consultant if you need special expertise.

A&E – The Accident and Emergency department of a hospital, A&E for short, is where you go if you’ve had an accident or feel extremely unwell. Treatment is on a needs basis, so if the condition is not urgent the wait time may be extensive. There is a charge of €100 to attend without a GP referral.

Private Healthcare – If you are a private healthcare patient covered by health insurance, you may be eligible for a range of benefits. These include faster access to diagnostic investigations and subsequent treatments through your choice of consultant, and access to both public and private hospitals depending on your insurance plan (including high-tech hospitals). Treatment and services for private patients are provided by a wide network of private hospitals and clinics, as well as public hospitals.

Private hospitals are located across Ireland and offer some of the most technologically advanced healthcare treatment options. The best include:

The Hermitage Medical Clinic: Hermitage Clinic, part of Blackrock Health, is a 112-bed private hospital in Lucan, West Dublin. The specialised medical teams provide medical, surgical and advanced radiotherapy care to patients and are supported by the very latest medical technology. The most up-to-date radiology equipment is available including MRI, PET/CT, Nuclear Medicine, 64 slice CT, Mammography, Ultrasound, X-ray and Fluoroscopy. They also have a fully integrated RIS/PACs system.

Blackrock Clinic: Blackrock Clinic, part of Blackrock Health, is Ireland’s leading high-tech hospital, focused on developing and delivering the newest and most technologically advanced healthcare.

Since it opened in the mid-1980s, the Blackrock Clinic has been recognised by the Joint Commission International (JCI), which accredits only hospitals that raise safety and quality of care standards to the highest levels, and was one of the first hospitals in Ireland to attain this international recognition.

Beacon Hospital: Beacon Hospital is one of the most technologically advanced private hospitals in all of Europe. It has Ireland’s most advanced diagnostic equipment and an Emergency Department located in Dublin.

With over 300 Consultants and 1,700 medical professionals, Beacon Hospital operates as a full-service acute hospital. Treatment and services include orthopaedic surgery, heart surgery, neurosurgery, general surgery, comprehensive cancer care (medical oncology and radiation oncology), and general and emergency medical services.

Beacon Hospital has satellite locations in Dublin 8, Wexford, Mullingar and Drogheda.

Bon Secours Private Hospital: Established in 1951, Bon Secours Hospital is an independent acute care private hospital located in Glasnevin in North Dublin. The Bon Secours Hospital Dublin is part of the Bon Secours Health System, Ireland’s largest independent healthcare provider incorporating a network of four modern acute hospitals in Cork, Dublin, Galway and Tralee. The Health System also includes a Consultation Centre in Limerick and a Care Village in Cork.

St. Vincent’s Private hospital: One of the world’s leading hospitals providing front-line, acute, chronic and emergency care across over 50 different medical specialties, St. Vincent’s is the only integrated multi-hospital campus in Ireland. Its Emergency Department (ED) is the major referral centre for the region for patients with strokes and major trauma.

St. Vincent’s Private Hospital is part of the St. Vincent’s Healthcare Group (SVHG), the group also includes St. Vincent’s University Hospital and St Michael’s Hospital, Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin.

Insurance planning

Ireland’s public healthcare system is highly regarded. It ranked 11th for the best healthcare in the world in a 2018 study published by The Lancet, placing 12 positions above the UK. It also boasts more hospital beds per person than the UK, according to the OECD.

However, Ireland’s public healthcare is not always free. And having health insurance to pay your medical and hospital expenses can provide peace of mind for you and your family. With health insurance, you can expect:

  • more options to choose top class private hospitals in Ireland
  • quicker access to necessary medical care
  • treatment in hospitals as a private patient

The average annual cost of Irish health insurance paid by individual policyholders as of December 2021 was €1,470 for adults. While insurance is an additional expense, not having it could prove far more costly.

Families planning to relocate overseas may wonder if the insurance plans they have purchased in their home countries are still effective once they move, and whether life insurance can be an effective tax planning tool.

We spoke to Gigi Tsoi, District Director of Wealth Management and Protection, about the things to take into account regarding healthcare and insurance when moving abroad.

Medical and healthcare insurance is just one of five main categories of insurance to review when moving abroad. The others include life insurance, critical illness insurance, accident insurance or long-term disability coverage, and Investment-Linked Assurance Schemes (ILAS).

Gigi suggests that families first review their current medical insurance to understand any existing coverage and its suitability for the country they are moving to. If coverage is limited, she recommends families invest in a high-quality international health insurance plan to cover their medical needs. Such an insurance plan can be a lifeline in case something happens when they are abroad and they need to seek global medical treatment.

She also highlights how Inheritance Tax (IHT) can be offset with life insurance, or that people can avoid IHT being charged by putting the assets in trust.


For families moving overseas, residing in a country with a good healthcare system and access to medical care is important. The healthcare and medical system in Ireland is modern, safe and among the best in the world, making Ireland a great place to live, study, work and retire. When families have adequate insurance coverage, they will have peace of mind that they and their loved ones will be protected financially and enjoy a good quality of life in Ireland.

Why choose? Living in the UK and Ireland

Did you know that once you have citizenship in either the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, you and your family have the right to reside in the other, and enjoy the same associated privileges, including the right to work, study and vote in certain elections, as well as to access social welfare benefits and health services?

In this article, we explain why and how, and delve a little deeper into the historical links between the UK and Ireland and the cultural similarities between the two. In addition, we speak to a UK immigration expert, who shares the latest UK immigration policies, opportunities for emigration following the close of the UK Tier 1 investor visa, and an alternative immigration route to the UK.

The United Kingdom and Ireland

Historically, relations between the United Kingdom and Ireland have been influenced by issues arising from their shared history, with Ireland flitting from periods where it was under the control of Great Britain and times when it was fighting to establish or maintain independence.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, war and colonization saw Ireland come under the control of the English. In 1782, Ireland gained near-independence from Great Britain, but in 1801, the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland merged to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Violent campaigns for autonomy followed, culminating with a war of independence that ended with the Anglo-Irish treaty of 1921. This saw the partition of Ireland into the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland, the latter which remained part of the UK. In 1937, Ireland declared itself fully independent of the UK.

Both Ireland and the UK joined the European Union in 1973. In June 2016, the UK held a referendum in which a majority voted to leave the EU. Brexit became effective in early 2020 with a deal reached on 24 December 2020, keeping Northern Ireland in the European Union Single Market for goods and maintaining a free border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The Republic of Ireland became the only English-speaking country in the EU.

Culturally, the four nations of the British Isles (England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) have many similarities and people travel between each nation as if it were one.

Geographically, the UK shares a 499km international land border with the Republic of Ireland. And Dublin, the Republic of Ireland’s capital, is just 288 miles from London—a flight takes less than 1.5 hours and is very reasonably priced, with tickets available from £12 for a one-way trip and from £30 for a round trip. It’s therefore no surprise that people who live in Dublin might pop over to London for a weekend shopping trip or a UEFA champions league game during the football season.

Living in Ireland has many similarities to living in the UK – particularly when it comes to accessing good quality education. The UK and Ireland have very similar education systems and both provide a world-class education. In each country, there are five stages of education – early years (nursery), primary, secondary, further education (FE) and higher education. Irish secondary graduates can apply to study in UK universities through their schools or through the UCAS website, and there is a point-based system that can be used to compare the grades of the Leaving Certificate in Ireland with GCSE and A-level results in the UK. Likewise, British students can apply for undergraduate courses in Ireland through the Central Applications Office (CAO) – the Irish equivalent of UCAS.

In both Ireland and the UK, students are admitted onto a specific course rather than to a university. They are accepted, for example, to study Nursing at Queen’s University in Belfast, or to study Business & Management Studies at University College Cork (UCC). Some subjects in Irish universities are ranked among the top 50 in the world for their area or speciality. In 2021, the highest rank for Ireland was University College Dublin’s (UCD) Veterinary Science department, which placed 23rd in the QS World University Rankings by Subject. It was closely followed by the English Language and Literature programme at Trinity College Dublin, in 25th position. Between them, UCD and Trinity held eight top 50 positions, while University College Cork placed 49th for Nursing.

Additionally, due to Ireland’s burgeoning start-up, FinTech and entrepreneurship scene, some business courses at Irish universities have outperformed those in other UK and European universities, with the highest number of graduates going on to become entrepreneurs. The table above shows the top 10 universities in Europe by entrepreneur count, as well as the number of companies founded by those entrepreneurs, and the total of venture capital raised, according to PitchBook, a platform that provides financial data.

Common Travel Area arrangements (CTA)

The Common Travel Area (CTA) is a long-standing arrangement between the UK, the Crown Dependencies and Ireland that pre-dates both British and Irish membership of the EU and is not dependent on it.

Under the CTA, British and Irish citizens can move freely and reside in either jurisdiction and enjoy associated rights and privileges, including the right to work, study and vote in certain elections, as well as to access social welfare benefits and health services.

The UK and Irish governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in May 2019 reaffirming their commitment to maintain the CTA, and the associated rights and privileges, in all circumstances, and the CTA remains unchanged after Brexit.

UK immigration policies update and alternatives

2022 is shaping up to be a year of change with regard to UK immigration. The UK government has announced wide-ranging updates its Immigration Rules. Families who are planning to move to the UK through the non-BNO route may face challenges due to these policy changes, but rest assured, there are alternatives to the UK.

We spoke to Janine Miu, founder of UK Immigration Specialist, and a specialist in UK Immigration Law, about the changes to the UK immigration policy, the visa programmes that are currently available, and her views on an alternative route to the UK via Irish immigration by investment.

Following the closure of the UK Tier 1 investor visa, families and non-BNO passport holders who are looking to emigrate to a place that offers a high degree of residing flexibility, and who may still have an ultimate goal to live in the UK, can consider the IIP. Janine recommends it as a good alternative.

The IIP allows families to receive their Irish permanent residency in about six months, and families are only required to spend one day per calendar year in Ireland to maintain their residency status. After five years, they can apply for citizenship and receive a passport. Irish nationals enjoy a right of residence in the UK under the Common Travel Area (CTA) arrangement.

It’s important to note that the Enterprise Investment option in the IIP has 100% capital protection, meaning that investors can take their 1 million euros back at the end of the investment period, while investments in the UK Investor Visa have no full principal repayment guarantee.

Investing in the IIP will pave the way for the families to choose to live in both Ireland and the UK, enjoying optimal privileges and opportunities to study, work and enjoy a high standard of living.