Bartra Wealth Advisors have a limited number of final Irish Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) approved investment slots available, with a restricted quota and timeframe. These slots are open to clients who have an immediate intention to apply for the IIP. Contact us now to secure your opportunity.

3 questions to ask before choosing an immigration programme

There are many reasons to move abroad – education quality, work opportunities, economic stability, to name a few. But before applying for any immigration programme, it’s best to look into the programme details and compare the requirements. Choosing the programme that suits you and your family best is key to a positive immigration journey. But the question is, how do you know whether a programme is a good fit for you and your family?

To explain the differences between immigration programmes, we spoke to our immigration partner Willie Hu, Director of John Hu Migration Consulting, for our Immigration Insights with Bartra Wealth Advisors series. Having worked in the immigration industry for years, Willie is experienced in suggesting the most suitable programme according to a client’s needs and immigration objectives. Watch the latest episode of Immigration Insights, where Willie talks to our Regional Director Jeffrey Ling about the different immigration programmes and provides some advice for families considering moving abroad.

Immigration Options

Moving to another country is exciting and life-changing, but it takes a lot of evaluation and a concrete action plan to make it happen. To start with, you need to understand different immigration programmes and what each require. While there is a variety of immigration programmes in the market, they can be categorised into three main types:

1. Skilled migration
2. Business/entrepreneur migration
3. Investment migration

Skilled migration

Skilled migration programmes are designed to attract migrants who can potentially make a significant contribution to the country’s economy. As skilled migrants have a high participation rate in the workforce, they serve as a driving force of economic growth, which results in the creation of more jobs. Skilled migration programmes are typically points-based and the points assessment is based on age, qualifications, English proficiency, and years of working experience.

Popular countries offering skilled migration programmes include Australia, Canada and New Zealand where occupations such as health workers, engineers and IT professionals are preferred.

Business/entrepreneur migration

Business/entrepreneur migration programmes are designed to attract entrepreneurial talents and foreign direct investment (FDI). They are positioned to target migrants that have a demonstrated history of success in innovation, investment and business. These programmes require the applicant to make a certain amount of investment and to create new jobs in the target country, which in turn contribute to the country’s economic growth and workforce.

A wide variety of countries offer business/entrepreneur migration programmes including Australia, Canada, Japan, Portugal, Singapore and the UK.

Investment migration

Investment migration programmes allow individuals to obtain residency status in return for investment in their host countries, and some may ultimately lead to citizenship. Investment options and programme frameworks vary depending on the needs of the country, but the investments are usually in the form of real estate purchases, endowments to national projects or business investments.

Both investment migration and business/entrepreneur migration require investments in the target country. The biggest difference is that the former is passive in nature, meaning individuals are not required to establish or actively manage a business.

How to choose an immigration programme

On gaining an understanding of the different types of immigration programmes, there are three questions to ask when selecting the most suitable programme for you and your family:

1. How much risk are you willing to take?

For professionals, skilled migration is undoubtedly the safest option. However, being typically points-based, age, qualifications and language proficiency will all be taken into account during application. It is worth noting that your occupation score also differs from country to country based on national needs. Therefore, success is not guaranteed when it comes to skilled migration, and it is essential to study the scoring criteria carefully prior to application.

If you are interested in running a business and are confident in your entrepreneurial skills, then business/entrepreneur migration might be a good choice. Nevertheless, running any business is a task in risk management. Risks arise from uncertainty about various aspects of the business, from customer preferences to competition and economic performance. The entrepreneur needs to be aware of the risk that one might confront when running the business. If your business fails, it might also affect your resident status. “Applicants need to understand the local market. Even if a person is a successful business person in a certain country, this doesn’t mean they will succeed overseas,” says Willie.

For investment migration, applicants can generally obtain resident status by providing capital funds for designated investments. If the investment is in equity, it is key to understand the underlying assets and associated downside risks and payoff. As for debt investment, it’s all about credit risk. The risk profile can be evaluated through due diligence; for example, what are the backgrounds of the management team? What is their track record? Is the debt collateralised or uncollateralised? What is the seniority ranking of the debt?

Aside from financial risks, there are a number of other risk factors common to immigration programmes. We have put together a list of some of these in our blog “How to assess risks of immigration investor programmes?”.

2. Do you want to eventually become a permanent resident or citizen? 

There are generally three types of resident status: temporary residents, permanent residents and citizens. The most significant difference between temporary residents and permanent residents is the duration of stay. Temporary resident visa holders are permitted to reside for a limited period of time with restricted working conditions, meaning they are required to either leave the country or apply for another visa before the expiration date, while permanent resident visas provide more rights to the visa holder, such as residency, medical, education, etc. Citizens of a certain country have the right to vote and are eligible for a passport.

If your ultimate goal is to become a permanent resident or citizen of the target country, then you are advised to pay attention to the visa or permit types that different programmes offer, as some may be issued in the form of a temporary resident visa without the right to access local benefits.

3. Do you want to become a tax resident in the target country?

Hong Kong is known for its simple, low-rate tax system where no tax is levied on profits arising abroad, even if they are remitted to Hong Kong. In contrast, the tax regimes of the major immigration destinations, such as the UK and Canada, are often considerably more complicated and the rates are generally much higher. Compared to Hong Kong, where the tax code is a mere 276 pages long, the UK tax code spans more than 17,000 pages. Therefore, it is crucial to plan early to keep your tax affairs in order.

In most countries, the tax liability of an individual is determined by their period of stay and whether they are domiciled. Taking Ireland as an example, you are considered a resident for tax purposes and become liable to Irish taxes only if you stay in the country for a total of 183 days or more in a tax year. Therefore, Investment migration programmes are popular amongst high-net-worth individuals as they often offer greater flexibility around residency requirements.

Under the Irish Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP), the minimum stay is only one day per year. Investors can decide whether to become a tax resident in Ireland depending on their situation and maintain resident status without moving to Ireland.

Check out more Irish tax planning tips in our blog “Practical tips on Irish tax to get your finances in order before moving to Ireland“.


Fully understanding your immigration options and thoroughly evaluating the risk factors of a programme are very important prior to making any decisions. Before you begin navigating all the different visas available, make sure you are clear about what your immigration objective is and seek professional advice.

At Bartra Wealth Advisors we pride ourselves on delivering streamlined, in-group, end-to-end Irish immigration services. For any questions about Irish immigration, click here to contact our advisors.

Practical tips on Irish tax to get your finances in order before moving to Ireland

Compared to many English-speaking countries, Ireland has comparatively favourable tax regimes for immigrants, but the key to tax efficiency is always good planning to ensure your finances are in order before you arrive in the country.

In our previous blog Tax 101 – a simple tax guide for immigrants to Ireland, we went through the major Irish taxes that IIP investors should be aware of. To help you further understand the tax implications that might accompany a move to Ireland, our Marketing Director, Jay Cheung, spoke to Gabriel Ho, Director of People Services at KPMG for the latest episode of Immigration Insights with Bartra Wealth Advisors. Watch the video for insights on tax-related considerations and actions to take before moving to Ireland.

Residence for Tax Purposes

“As a starting point, consider the amount of time you anticipate spending in Ireland and plan your finances before moving to Ireland. This can significantly impact your Ireland tax position and tax liabilities,” says Gabriel.

The tax liability of an individual in Ireland is determined by whether they are resident in the country and whether they are domiciled in Ireland. According to the Revenue Commissioners, the Irish Tax and Customs agency, your tax residence status depends on the number of days you are present in Ireland during a tax year (the period from 1 January to 31 December). You are resident in Ireland for tax purposes if you are in Ireland for a total of:

  • 183 days or more in a tax year, or
  • 280 days or more in Ireland over two consecutive tax years, with a minimum of 30 days in each year

Tax residence is taken into account for several taxes including income tax, inheritance tax and capital gains tax (CGT). It is worth noting that you will become ordinarily resident if you have been resident in Ireland for 3 consecutive tax years. An individual who is ordinarily resident in Ireland is liable to Irish taxes regardless of the number of days spent in Ireland, until being non-resident for another 3 consecutive tax years.

The Irish Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) offers extensive flexibility to its investors as the minimum stay is only one day per year. Investors can decide whether to become a tax resident in Ireland depending on their situation.


Remittance Basis

The remittance basis of tax is advantageous to people coming into Ireland if non-domiciled. If not an Irish national, then any investment income is only taxable if you bring it into Ireland.

The remittance basis is very attractive in bringing people to Ireland, as for most IIP applicants, their income is in overseas investments. There are very few countries that offer this favourable tax treatment.

It is important to understand what constitutes an Irish source of income and what is not an Irish source of income. For instance, investors might bring their income into Ireland before they arrive, so-called ‘clean capital’ that is income earned while not resident in Ireland. This money has generally already been taxed overseas and is not from an Irish source. “In general, if you would like to dispose of assets before you move, we suggest you do so at least one year before becoming tax residents in Ireland. The gain should not be subject to Ireland tax even if you remit the proceeds to Ireland at a later time,” says Gabriel.

For example, if an individual who will move to and become tax resident in Ireland in 2022 disposes assets on or before 31 December 2021, the gain should not be subject to Ireland tax even if they remit the proceeds to their Ireland bank account in 2021 or later. If you earn overseas investment income while resident in Ireland, as long as you do not bring the funds into Ireland then Irish Revenue will not seek to tax it.

There is also the Special Assignee Relief Programme (SARP), which is a tax incentive used to attract talent from outside Ireland to work in Ireland. If a person meets the conditions of SARP they enjoy a preferential tax rate on employment income where the income tax rate that applies is 28%.

Tax family

Planning Ahead

It is crucial to plan early to achieve the best tax benefits. Try to create a clear list of your assets and investment portfolio that you disclose to your financial or tax advisor in order to assess whether it will be considered clean capital and if it is possible to remit it to Ireland without incurring any additional Irish taxes.

It is also important to document the income that is brought into Ireland and have any backup information to hand in the event of any enquiries from Irish Revenue. By not planning correctly regarding the source of the income you bring into Ireland or the timing of when you bring in this income you may become liable to additional taxes or scrutiny from Irish Revenue.

Gabriel says individuals may also consider having separate bank accounts in Ireland. “For example, one account for holding funds remitted to Ireland which should not be subject to tax, and another account for holding funds remitted to Ireland which may be subject to tax. This should help ring-fence income and gains which should not be subject to Ireland tax.”


Tax implication varies from family to family, and it is affected by a myriad of factors. However, IIP’s flexibility allows plenty of time for investors to properly plan their finances before relocating to Ireland. We hope that investors can mitigate unwanted tax spending after understanding how the Irish tax regime works.

Bartra Wealth Advisors prides itself on delivering streamlined, end-to-end services. Our unique business model supports clients throughout their investment and immigration journey, from immigration advisory and government-backed IIP projects through to exit executions. Contact us if you have any questions regarding Ireland’s tax regime or the IIP.

Disclaimer: Information correct as of 27 August 2021. Bartra Wealth Advisors and its affiliates provide individualised services to immigration. All information provided to investors and clients is with such purpose in mind. Should investors have any enquiries about any specific legal, tax or financial planning matter relating to their personal circumstances, Bartra Wealth Advisors recommends that investors seek independent professional advice. Although every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information and contents of the materials, which are obtained from sources believed to be reliable, Bartra Wealth Advisors does not represent, warrant or guarantee the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, reliability or suitability of the information or contents for any particular purpose.

Start building a bright future for your children: an Irish university graduate’s personal story

In an increasingly globalised world, having a global vision has become essential. It is common to see parents send their children to study abroad to broaden their horizons. From building global connections to honing language skills and experiencing a new culture, the benefits of overseas education are invaluable.

According to UNESCO data, there are currently 36,420 Hong Kong students studying abroad. The United Kingdom is the top destination (44.7%), followed by Australia (26.5%) and the United States (19.1%). With the rapid development of the Irish economy and job market, Ireland has become another popular choice in recent years. Data from the Irish International Education Center (IIEC) shows that an increasing number of Hong Kong parents are keen to send their children to study in Ireland. To date, more than 6,000 Hong Kong students have graduated from Irish universities.

Gallen Leung, who was born and raised in Hong Kong, is one of those 6,000. He went to Trinity College Dublin in 2013 and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Economic and Social Studies in 2018 followed by a Master’s degree in Marketing one year later. He is now based in Ireland where he works for an Irish digital agency. Due to the recent national lockdown in Ireland, Gallen returned to Hong Kong where is working remotely – a true work-from-‘home’ set-up.

We had the opportunity to interview Gallen to understand more about what it is like to study and live in Ireland. Having resided there for more than eight years, he describes his journey as an eye-opening experience. Watch episode one of the second series of Immigration Insights, where Gallen talks to our Regional Director Jeffrey Ling about life at school and shares his challenges and some advice for those planning to study in Ireland.

Why study abroad in Ireland?

“When I was about to take the HKDSE exams, I decided I didn’t like the examination system, so I made the decision to study abroad. My parents picked Ireland because the residents are mainly Irish; there are not many Asians. I could immerse myself in Irish culture and become more comfortable with people from different backgrounds,” Gallen recalls. Unlike Australia and Canada, where the Chinese community makes up 5.6% and 5.1% of the population respectively, or the US where it is about 1.5% Chinese, the main ethnic group in Ireland is White Irish (82.2%), followed by other white (9.5%), Asian (2.1%) and black (1.4%), with just 0.4% Chinese, a figure lower than that in the UK (0.7%).

Parents who value the English education system often choose Ireland as an alternative to the UK. “Ireland has the third-best education system in Europe, which is a good place to study overall,” Gallen says. Aspiring entrepreneurs and students wanting to pursue degrees in business administration or management in particular will be hard-pressed to find a better destination for study than Ireland; the country is becoming the new Silicon Valley as more behemoths of the business world move their headquarters to Ireland.

Higher education institutes such as University College Cork, University College Dublin, and Trinity College Dublin are some of the best in the world. Trinity, in particular, specialises in entrepreneurship, and boasts the largest number of start-ups and new businesses to be developed by students in all of Europe.

While academic success is extremely important, it is worth noting that the primary goal of the Irish education system is to provide an all-round education thanks to the broad spectrum of cultural, artistic, sports, psychological and spiritual development offered on top of preparation for academia. “I really enjoyed my undergraduate study in Ireland and I wanted to further my education in this amazing country. I have been living in Ireland for nearly nine years now, and I see myself as Irish and want to stay here for the rest of my life,” says Gallen, who also showed his gratitude to his teacher, “I am very grateful to have met the professor in my Master’s degree. He helped me from beginning to end, gave me a lot of suggestions and most importantly we became friends. He was one of the factors that made me enjoy my Master’s.”

Landing in Ireland

“I was shocked when I first arrived in Ireland because I was used to living in a city and had never been to a country with no tall buildings. The nation is covered in lush green grass and rolling hills, which is very different from Hong Kong,” he says. “Apart from the resplendent greenery, it was also surprising to see how nice the drivers are in Ireland. Unlike those in Hong Kong, they let you pass the crossroad first even when it’s a green light for them. You can cross the road in Ireland with your eyes closed!”

Quality of living is another key reason that people choose to study and live in Ireland. Its residents benefit from the natural environment. As an island on the edge of Europe, its low-rise cities provide exceptionally pure air and water quality, and green rolling countryside is within minutes drive of anywhere in the country. Ireland is also globally renowned as a high-quality food producer and is mostly self sufficient in this respect. It is also one of the most talked-about food destinations in Europe – see our previous blog for more information.

“Ireland has a slower pace of living than Hong Kong, with high quality of life. Irish agriculture is well developed, the quality of food is high but at an affordable price. Also, it’s really easy to travel around Europe from Ireland with cheap flights. I am a big football fan and it takes just HKD 200 to go over to England to watch a game. My summer is always like a European tour,” Gallen added.

Social inclusion is one of the most talked-about topics among expatriates during settlement. Ireland is a friendly, safe country, which is why international students get so much out of the Irish experience. A study by the World Economic Forum (WEF) found that Ireland ranks 9th on a global list of the attitude of its native population to visitors.

When we asked Gallen how he felt about making friends, he replied, “it is not challenging at all; most Irish are nice and friendly. You can easily make friends after one pint of Guinness! I got along with a group of boys during my undergraduate studies. We were close in those four years and we still gather now even though we have started working. Our tradition is to come out every Christmas to do a Secret Santa and 12 pubs challenge.”

“The country is very inclusive. The Irish are friendly to foreigners and are generally casual and nice. As one of few Asian students in the school, I never felt left out in class,” he adds.

Gallen has a few tips for newbies. “The main thing is don’t be shy. Just don’t be afraid to speak; don’t be afraid to make friends.” To help settle in, he said, “try to get a part-time job during your studies. That’s what I did to overcome these challenges. I worked in a department store, which helped me to understand the culture, and also improved my speaking and listening skills.”

Tips for choosing schools and things you need to know

Similar to universities in the UK, academic results in Hong Kong are recognised by Irish universities, which means students can apply for undergraduate programmes directly based on the requirements. Some universities also offer scholarships for international students who study abroad in Ireland.

Commenting on the difficulty of applying to Irish universities, Gallen says, “It depends. If you are applying to average universities, it is not that difficult. However, for top universities such as Trinity College Dublin (TCD) or University College Dublin (UCD), then you have to get good grades and a minimum of 6.5 overall in IELTS. Medicine and accounting are both popular subjects in Ireland. One tip is to do your research before applying to any university. The ranking of the university doesn’t reflect the subject rankings.”

When asked about the challenges he has encountered when he was new to the country, he says, “One of the biggest challenges was living alone in a brand new environment. The most difficult moments had to be the first three months in Ireland, when I lived without my family. Homesickness is the worst thing in the world.” Also, embracing cultural differences was important, “Irish English is not difficult to understand, but the cultural difference was a big factor, where I had to take some time to adapt to the lifestyle. Unlike in Hong Kong, people in Ireland don’t have much to do after sunset, mostly just go to a pub or club, or go to the gym.”

The future of studying and working in Ireland

The Irish Government sees education as strategically interlinked with national planning and has successfully developed programmes at all levels to establish Ireland as an international base for technology, science and the financial services. Gallen can see the opportunity in Ireland. “As the economy is booming in Ireland, the Irish job market is very prosperous at the moment, especially sectors like IT, finance and pharmaceuticals. Also, with Brexit, the future of Ireland can only get better and better. Many big companies’ headquarters are moving io Ireland, which means more opportunities for us to work for big, well-known firms. And many large infrastructure projects are under development, such as railways and underground.”

The education and job markets are closely linked – read our recent article on Ireland’s labour market: “Ireland’s Job Market – Which professional sectors are in high demand?

The interview closed with a typical question – if you could choose again, would you study in Hong Kong or Ireland? “I would still choose Ireland without a doubt. Studying abroad widened my horizons and broadened my mind. I would not have got to where I am now if I hadn’t studied in Ireland.”


Studying abroad can be a life-changing experience, and Ireland is certainly one of the top destinations to consider for your children’s education. With its inclusiveness, well-developed education system, thriving economy and booming job market, it ticks all the boxes. In 2019, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) noted that Irish graduates are the most productive employees in the world among international companies, which further affirms the quality of the nation’s education.

Through the Ireland Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP), your children can obtain Irish permanent residency status in four to six months and will be eligible for Irish citizenship through naturalisation when they are aged 18 or over and have been residents in the state for at least five years. Once your children become Irish citizens, they are entitled to live and work in Ireland, EU member states and the UK. Contact us now to learn more about our IIP Programme.

Why social housing in Ireland became popular for investors

When it comes to major types of real estate investment, the obvious contenders are residential property and commercial real estate. Therefore, it might come as a surprise that social housing has actually become one of the most popular investment options in Ireland in recent years.

Although it is difficult for individual investors to participate, there is the opportunity to participate in Bartra’s social housing projects through the Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP). At maturity of your three-year investment period, your total €1 million investment will be returned, along with Permanent Residency status for you and your family.

According to CBRE’s Ireland Bi-Monthly Research Report published in May 2021, the Irish social housing market continues to record large transactions, including the recent sale by Ardstone Capital of a portfolio of five multifamily and single-family assets for €450 million, and the acquisition of 39 units leased to Dublin City Council at Blackhall Street in Dublin 7 for €20 million. The report also noted that several annuity funds and impact funds are now specifically targeting opportunities in this sector, and the social housing market is expected to thrive going forward. So, why are so many institutional investors keen to invest in this sector?

Data published in November 2020 showed that there were 61,880 households on the housing list in Ireland, while only 9,028 social homes are currently onsite. The social housing supply falls far short of demand, not to mention that last year’s pandemic battered global construction sectors with Ireland being no exception. The likelihood is that the housing list is now considerably longer than the data published.

Ireland social housing delivery vs housing need

The undersupply of social housing did not happen overnight. A significant legacy of the 2008 financial crisis was substantial under-investment in Ireland’s real estate projects, causing the real estate supply to plummet.

Ireland’s economy has regained its momentum in recent years and maintained the highest economic growth rate in Europe for six consecutive years. Thousands of migrants are flooding into this new European financial centre, especially Dublin, and this has further encouraged a rise in rent and demand for private and social housing.

Long Term Social Housing Leasing Scheme

To accelerate social housing delivery, the Irish government has committed more than €6 billion under the “Rebuilding Ireland” campaign. Under Rebuilding Ireland, one of the targets is to deliver 50,000 social housing units by 2021, of which 33,500 units will be exclusively built as social housing, 6,500 units will be acquired from the market, and the remaining 10,000 units will be secured via lease agreements. In other words, the Irish government is encouraging property developers to build properties and lease them to the government.

Social housing_Rebuild Ireland

The standard leasing scheme offers a lease term of 10-25 years. The Irish government (the lessee) will pay 80-85% of an agreed market rent which will be reviewed every three years and is linked to the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP), an indicator of inflation harmonised across EU countries.

In 2018, the Irish government launched the Enhanced Long Term Social Housing Leasing Scheme as an addition to the existing leasing arrangements. The enhanced scheme offers a 25-year lease term with up to 95% of the agreed market rent, but in return, each proposal has to include a minimum of 20 property units, and the lessor (developer) is obliged to provide management services.

Bartra was interviewed on RTÉ One, Ireland’s national broadcaster about Government long term leasing of social housing

Backed by the Irish government, the leasing scheme provides high investment stability for social housing investment.

Bartra’s Social Housing Projects

As one of the leading developers in Ireland, Bartra is committed to providing high-quality social housing for families in need. All of our social housing projects are located in Dublin and are constructed by seasoned professionals including architects, planners, quantity surveyors, and construction companies. Majority of our projects will be leased to the Irish government for 25 years, therefore the income is guaranteed.

Social Housing Process

Bartra’s latest social housing development is Colmcille House, in Stoneybatter, Dublin 7. Completed in April 2021, the development is located in a prime area of Dublin, within walking distance of Smithfield LUAS stop, and offers a total of 23 apartments situated less than 2km from the city centre. It has wonderful views over the city. At Bartra, we believe that every resident deserves a high quality of life, so every unit in Colmcille House is beautifully designed and 15-20% larger than most apartments in the area.

Bartra’s complex in Stoneybatter was funded by the IIP

Contact us to learn more about our social housing projects and the IIP programme.

Relocating to Ireland – what is living in Ireland really like?

Have you ever wondered what it’s like living in a country that rates second in the world for quality of life? In the United Nations Human Development Index for 2020, which measures longevity, education and wealth for 189 countries around the globe, Ireland ranked in joint second place with Switzerland, just behind Norway.

Quality of life is indeed what Ireland offers. Filled with rolling green landscapes and boasting a moderate climate and clean fresh air, Ireland has an abundance of nature and natural beauty. It is also one of the most talked-about food destinations in Europe, with plenty of produce exported around the world, from artisanal cheese and exceptional beef and lamb to fresh-off-the-boat seafood. Irish cuisine itself is tasty, characterized by simple, hearty cooking that follows the seasons. This can be enjoyed alongside some of Ireland’s most popular drinks, from Guinness to Jameson to Bailey’s, while the country’s pub culture, as well as its drinks venues, which range from secret speakeasies to glamorous lounges and cocktail havens, have their own draw.

Irish Stew

The Emerald Isle is also one of the most open economies in the world with a large and vibrant international business sector (read our latest Market Update). The European Union member state is the only country in the EU whose first language is English and it offers unparalleled accessibility to the UK under the Common Travel Agreement (CTA) ensuring it is a unique place for FDI, working and living. After visiting Ireland, it is no surprise that many often decide to move there from the USA, Canada, the UK, Germany and many countries around Asia. Ireland has emerged as a prime destination for HNWIs and their families who are looking for a high standard of living.

Besides Ireland’s quality of life, there are a number of other indices where Ireland ranks favourably:

  • Smiles all around – Ireland ranks 16th on the world happiness index, which is no small feat, especially as it rates above nations such as Germany, the USA and the UAE. Chances are you’ll always be greeted with a smile in Ireland’s many establishments
  • Let’s do some business – Ireland ranks 24th on the ease of doing business index, and its status as a first-world tax haven makes it even more enticing to entrepreneurs and businesses to set up shop on Irish shores
  • Outstanding healthcare – Ireland ranks 19th on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) overall healthcare system rankings, above many European counterparts including Switzerland, Belgium and Germany. Ireland also boasts 33 medical doctors per 10,000 people; to put that in context the UK has 28 and the USA has 26.

Overview and basic facts

If moving to Ireland sounds increasingly tempting, the process of making it happen can be easier than one might anticipate. First, a few more facts to cement the Isle’s appeal:

Ireland facts

The Irish passport:

  • Visa-free access to 185 countries
  • The only EU passport that allows the holder to live and work in the UK
  • Ranks 6th in terms of travel freedom (tied with the Dutch, French, Portuguese and Swedish passports). Find out more here.

Ireland at leisure:

Golfing: Scotland might be considered the birthplace of golf, but Ireland has a long and strong connection with the sport. It is home to the world’s oldest golfing union, the Golfing Union of Ireland, which was founded in 1891.

Yachting: Founded in 1720, the Royal Cork, formerly known as the Water Club of the Harbour of Cork in Ireland, holds the title of the oldest yacht club in the world.

Fishing: Ireland is one of the most popular sport fishing destinations in Europe. Its coastal waters abound with fish and visiting sports fishermen can anticipate a catch from more than 80 species ranging from a blenny of a few grams to a sixgill shark of over 400kg.

Prepare for your move

If you are visiting Ireland from the USA, Canada, Australia or many places outside the European Union, you do not need a visa to visit Ireland for up to 90 days. However, if you plan on living and working in Ireland, citizens of non-EU countries must apply for an Irish work permit, student visa or residency. If you are moving to Ireland from the UK, Germany or other EU countries, you are free to live, study or work in Ireland, however, you are required to register with the relevant authorities within your first month of moving.

Whether you are moving a few boxes or a whole household that might include children, pets and cars, there are multiple things to consider. Our Regional Director Jeffrey Ling interviewed Josh Sims, General Manager of Santa Fe, a relocation firm experienced in helping companies, families and individuals move to different countries. Sante Fe has offices throughout APAC, Europe and the US, including in Dublin, Ireland. Here are some of the essential things to know:


Finding accommodation in Ireland can be one of the more stressful aspects of moving to the country –and to Dublin in particular. As the capital is small and already has a large population, housing is limited. Expatriates can expect it to take at least a month to find the right home. And with a competitive housing market comes a fairly high average rent. Those relocating from overseas might consider purchasing property instead of renting. There are no legal restrictions on the ownership of real estate in Ireland so property can belong to resident or non-resident parties. There are also no restrictions on the transfer of ownership of property from one person to another. All this makes Ireland a great place to buy real estate and to do business.

Bartra’s residential project – Dublin Glensavage, Avoca Road in Blackrock

When it comes to the capital, the question is where in Dublin is the best place to live? First thing to know is that the city is divided by the Liffey River, which cuts it in two, leaving Dublin with a north side and a south side. Southern districts such as D2, D4 and D6 are the most popular as they have good schools and are central locations that are convenient for family life, shopping and leisure. Popular neighbourhoods include Ballsbridge, Donnybrook, Ranelagh, Blackrock, Dalkey, Killiney, Malahide, Howth and Castleknock.

Worth also noting is that D7 Stoneybatter is considered Dublin’s hippest neighbourhood, filled with trendy bars and restaurants. It is also where Bartra’s latest IIP social housing project, which was completed on time despite disruptions caused by the pandemic and lockdowns, is located. Read more about Stoneybatter here.


Real site photos, Stoneybatter, Bartra’s social housing project

For more on Irish housing, read our article on Ireland’s property market, a worthwhile investment.

Obtain Irish residency in 6 months

Ireland not only tops the charts as the best immigration destination for HNWIs due to all that the country itself has to offer, but its investment immigration programme, the IIP, plays a crucial part as well. The IIP is simple and extremely quick, with processing times averaging between four and six months. It is also extremely welcoming of investors’ needs, as it gives them four options to choose from:

  • Enterprise investment of €1 million in an Irish enterprise. This is the most popular option, chosen by 81% of all applicants, as chances of approval are highest if investing in a government-preferred sector, and there is the possibility of a good ROI
  • Investment fund option in the value of €1 million
  • Real Estate Investment Trust investment of €2 million
  • A €500,000 philanthropic donation to a project which is of public benefit to the arts, sport, health, culture or education in Ireland

As well as offering investors more flexibility in their investment options, the IIP allows applicants to add their spouse and dependent children below the age of 24 to their application. And unlike many residency-by-investment programmes, the IIP does not require long periods of residency for the applicant to maintain their residency but instead requires them to stay only one day within Ireland per year. Simple and quick, it’s no wonder the IIP has historically maintained a steady stream of applications.

Ultimately, the truth is that Ireland has it all. And more investors are starting to see this. It ticks all the boxes and is well-positioned to hold the title of the best immigration destination for HNWIs indefinitely. The magnificent country, refined IIP, and attractive investments make it an option no investor should overlook when searching for a new home.

Tax 101 – a simple tax guide for immigrants to Ireland

Ireland is an attractive destination for immigration. As an English-speaking EU member state with a world-class education system, transparent and fair State structures, plenty of foreign investment, Ireland is seeing a rise in the number of high-net-worth foreigners seeking Irish residency.

Whether you are planning to move to Ireland permanently or you plan to obtain residency without moving thanks to the flexibility of the IIP, it is important to know what specific tax obligations come with your situation, and if there are actions you may need to take to get your tax affairs in order.

Planning your finances before you become liable for Irish taxes and understanding global income tax can save you a significant amount of money. Taxes can be expensive and burdensome, but there are ways to minimize your tax liability in a legal way.

Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Inheritance Tax and other taxes

An individual can only be regarded as an Irish tax resident for a given tax year if he or she spends 183 days or more in Ireland during the tax year, or 280 days or more in Ireland in the current tax year and the previous tax year combined. In other words, given the flexibility of IIP, which requires a minimum stay of just one day in a year, investors spending less than 183 days a year who are domiciled outside of Ireland would not be liable to Irish tax. It is worth noting that investors who stay in Ireland for more than 183 days in a tax year, as long as their earnings are not remitted into Ireland, they may not fall within the Irish income tax net. 

There are a variety of different taxes that individuals interested in Irish residency should be aware of. In our video series Immigration Insights with Bartra Wealth Advisors, Jay Cheung, Bartra’s Marketing Director spoke to Kenneth Yeung, a senior accountant and tax advisor from China Consulting Consortium about matters around income tax, capital gain tax, property tax and inheritance tax. Kenneth is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and has been providing accounting and tax services to Chinese residents in the UK and Ireland for the past 30 years. To understand more about Irish tax, watch the episode now.

Income Tax

Personal tax varies and can be complicated. The reference guide below provides basic Irish tax information. Investors should always obtain independent tax advice. Worth noting is that in Ireland there are a large number of exemptions available depending on your type of income and whether the recipient of the income is resident in a country with which Ireland has a double tax treaty.

Income tax rates and rate bands

Irish Tax Eng

All individuals whose gross income exceeds the minimum threshold of €13,000 per annum are liable to pay the Universal Social Charge (USC). And most employers and employees (over 16 and under 66 years of age) pay social insurance (PRSI) contributions into the national Social Insurance Fund.

Personal income tax rates in Ireland are in line with other developed countries. For example, looking to Europe (the top rates), the income tax rate in Germany is 42%; the UK is 45%; France is 45%; Portugal is 48%; and the Netherlands is the world’s highest at 52%. Outside Europe and considering popular immigration countries, the rate in the US is 37%; 33% in Canada; 45% in Australia. China’s tax rate is 45%.

Capital Gains Tax (CGT)

The CGT rate in Ireland is 33% for most gains. However, there are other rates for specific types of gains:

  • 40% for gains from foreign life policies and foreign investment products
  • 15% for gains from venture capital funds for individuals and partnerships
  • 12.5% for gains from venture capital funds for companies

Again, for investors who spend less than 183 days a year in Ireland, they may not be taxable for either income or capital gains from other countries. 

Inheritance Tax

The thorn in the side of many an inheritance is the tax and in Ireland inheritance tax, or Capital Acquisitions Tax (CAT), is a hefty 33%. A child is entitled to inherit a certain amount (up to €310,000) tax-free, after which 33% is charged.

Other taxes

For those looking to run a business in Ireland, Corporate Income Tax and Value Added Tax (VAT) are the most important to know. In Ireland, corporate tax is 12.5%, one of the lowest in Europe and the normal VAT rate is 23%.

Tax Couple

Case study I: In what circumstances would I obtain Irish residency from the IIP and, although not domiciled in Ireland, still be liable to Irish income tax?

There are two types of income: employment income and investment income.

Employment income – you will be liable to Irish income tax on Irish employment income in full and non-Irish employment income to the extent that either your duties relate to Irish workdays or you remit your income relating to non-Irish workdays to Ireland.

Investment income – you are liable to Irish income tax on investment income from Irish sources. Investment income from other countries will not be taxable as long as the income is not remitted into the State. The remittance basis for a non-Irish domiciled individual continues regardless of residence/ ordinary residence status.

Case study II: When investing in nursing home projects, there is a 20% return from the 1million investment (4% per annum) upon maturity of the 5-year investment horizon. Is this 20% taxable to Ireland?

If you reside outside of Ireland and are not spending more than 183 days in Ireland, the 20% investment return from nursing home IIP projects is non-taxable to the State.


Bartra’s Northwood Nursing Home, completed and opened in Spring 2020, is home to 118 single occupancy private ensuite rooms.

Case study III: How would setting up a trust or having Life Insurance help with tax planning?

Some clients are keen to establish an “immigration trust”. The trust may hold cash deposits, shares in private and public companies, bonds, real estate and other types of investments, and provides an opportunity for immigrants to earn foreign investment income on a tax-free basis in the trust for a long period of time.

Clients may wish to consider using a trust for inheritance tax planning. As stated above, children are entitled to inherit up to €310,000 tax-free, after which 33% tax is charged. The assets in a trust are held in the name of a trustee but go directly to the beneficiary, who has a right to both the assets and income of the trust. Transfers into a bare trust may be exempt from inheritance tax.

Immigrants may also benefit from having a life insurance policy or a life insurance trust as the death benefit is typically tax-free. Beneficiaries generally don’t have to report the payout as income, making it a tax-free lump sum that they can employ freely, and potentially use to pay any required inheritance tax in order to receive the assets.


In conclusion, as is evident from the above, immigrants to Ireland can be subject to different tax treatments depending on how their wealth is structured. Great tax benefits can be achieved provided tax planning is in place. However, tax laws may change over time, so it is advisable to revisit your tax plan to avoid being unintentionally caught by any new tax laws and regulations.


Disclaimer: Information correct as of 19 February 2021. Bartra Wealth Advisors and its affiliates provide individualised services in relation to immigration. All information provided to investors and clients is with such purpose in mind. Should investors have any enquiries about any specific legal, tax or financial planning matter relating to their personal circumstances, Bartra Wealth Advisors recommends that investors seek independent professional advice. Although every care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information and contents of the materials, which are obtained from sources believed to be reliable, Bartra Wealth Advisors does not represent, warrant or guarantee the accuracy, completeness, timeliness, reliability or suitability of the information or contents for any particular purpose.

Premium nursing home care in Ireland – why you should invest in Bartra’s healthcare and nursing homes

Nursing care is an in-demand sector worldwide. Driven by a rising ageing population, the global nursing care market is expected to grow to a value of more than $1,100 billion at an annual rate of 8.6% to 2022 according to a recent report from The Business Research Company.

Unlike assisted-living facilities, nursing homes are strictly regulated by the government in many countries and are built and managed by sophisticated institutions to a high standard to ensure the care and treatment of elderly people who may have physical health concerns and/or mental disabilities.

It is common to see that those living in nursing homes generally have more disability than people living at home. Over half of nursing home residents need help with three or more activities of daily living (ADLs) such as dressing and bathing. Those who are able to walk may still need assistance or supervision, and some may have difficulty hearing or seeing.

Nursing homes have changed dramatically over the past few decades. They increasingly offer medical services similar to those offered in hospitals after surgery, illness or sudden medical problems. The elderly need a higher level of care, particularly as hospital stays are shorter than they used to be. However, medical services vary a lot among nursing homes.

At Bartra, we take the issue of ageing seriously. We believe in “growing old with dignity”. Bartra Healthcare is on course to become the largest provider of quality healthcare in Ireland. Led by seasoned professional Declan Carlyle, Bartra’s Healthcare division delivers a nursing home portfolio with superior elderly care facilities designed to meet the Irish government’s highest standards as imposed by the Health Information Quality Authority (HIQA). In Bartra’s nursing home operations, our highly skilled and experienced care team is inculcating a culture of quality caregiving in all our facilities, ensuring a standard of care that recognises our residents’ needs for independence, choice dignity and respect, compassion and advocacy.

Watch our interview with Declan Carlyle, CEO of Bartra Healthcare’s CEO, and former CFO of Beaumont Hospital, to find out what makes our service exceptional.

We are proud that Bartra Healthcare is comprised of a group of premium quality nursing homes, each of which provides individualised care in a safe, friendly and comfortable environment where all of the needs of our residents are met. As Declan says, “Every single aspect of these homes has been designed with meticulous attention to detail.” Aside from top-class elderly care facilities, high quality beds and bed linen and hand-picked teams of professional and clinical staff, we also strive to bring tasty, wholesome food to residents that is well presented and appetising to the eye.

Eating and drinking are fundamental needs and consequently essential parts of nursing and nursing care. Encouraging older people in nursing homes to engage in mealtime activities can increase engagement in daily life and encourage more optimal health among older people. It’s more than simply a meal. Our team of highly skilled chefs has a deep understanding of diet, cooks with heart, and brings empathy and imagination to the table.

Learn more about our food philosophy in our interview with Executive Chef Andrew Dunne.

Strong track record of success

Bartra’s nursing homes are Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) qualified, with state-backed income, and meet the highest HIQA standards. Investors into our nursing home projects deploy €1 million for 5 years and receive 100% repayment upon maturity and a 20% return (4% per annum). Bartra has a strong pipeline of 825 nursing home beds, valued at €180 million.

Following the successful opening of our Northwood and Loughshinny nursing homes, Bartra’s third nursing home project, Beaumont Lodge was completed in October 2020, two months ahead of schedule and within budget despite the global pandemic and the challenges it presented. Beaumont Lodge is one of the Ireland’s largest nursing homes, featuring 221 single occupancy, ensuite bedrooms offering privacy for every elderly resident.

The building contains a large open plan area of 10,000 square meters, equivalent to the size of a football field, with three-storey overhanging areas supported on concrete beams and columns. Large ‘Winter Garden’ balconies were constructed on each floor to provide outdoor space. The development also offers 83 car parking spaces along with motorcycle and bicycle bays. Bartra teams provided civil, structural and traffic engineering services as well as design.

Beaumont Lodge

Beaumont Lodge, completed exterior and interior

Regarding nursing facilities, Beaumont will fully comply with the highest HIQA standards, accommodating some of the most advanced equipment to ensure high-tech and intelligent nursing services. Each room offers a separate shower room which ensures a private space. All beds can be easily raised and lowered, and the mattresses in each room are customised in consideration of body pressure distribution. Every room is equipped with an alarm system for daily needs or emergency assistance.

To find out how the development of Beaumont Lodge progressed from its beginnings in 2018, watch our construction video.

Beaumont is located in Dublin 5, close to Dublin Airport and within easy reach of Ireland’s most important traffic artery and busiest ring road, the M50. From this C-shaped highway, almost anywhere in Dublin can be accessed easily. Another important highway, the M1, which connects Dublin and Northern Ireland, is also nearby. The extensive transportation network around Beaumont is convenient for the elderly who reside there.

How does Bartra’s nursing home portfolio work?

With an ageing population, nursing homes are in high demand yet remain undersupplied in Ireland. The number of over 65-year-olds is expected to reach 16% of the total population, accounting for 860,600 people by 2026. This means the country will need 7,500 new nursing home beds in the system by then. However, little is expected to be built in the next few years, with just 1,144 beds due to be delivered.

To meet the required volume of units, reduce housing waiting lists and increase the delivery of much-needed infrastructure, collaboration between the public and private sectors is necessary. And since nursing homes qualify as essential infrastructure, institutional investors with long-term investment horizons are contributing to elderly care projects as part of their investment portfolios.

For more on the benefits of investing in nursing hones and healthcare (as well as social housing), read our article on Impact Investing with Bartra.

It is worth noting that, in Ireland, there is a financial support scheme available from the government for the cost of nursing home care. This scheme is called the Nursing Home Support Scheme, but It is better known as “The Fair Deal”. Under the Fair Deal Scheme, each bed in a nursing home receives a weekly subsidy from the government (the subsidy standard is determined by the National Treatment Purchase Fund). As such, investing in nursing home projects is safe and unaffected by market movements due to its state-backed income stream, many institutional investors with a long-term investment horizon have contributed to elderly care as part of their investment portfolios.

Investments in and acquisitions of nursing home projects in Ireland to date include:

Care Choice Group, Munster (5 Nursing Homes) and Dublin (1 Nursing Home): Infra Via acquired Care Choice for €70m (comprising 503 beds, the majority of which are located in Munster, with four sites located in the Greater Dublin Area).

The Beechfield Group, Dublin (3 Nursing Homes): German-based IMMAC Group entered the Irish nursing home sector with the €33m acquisition of the Beechfield Care Group, incorporating Beechfield Manor Nursing Home, Glengara Park Nursing Home and Mount Hybla Nursing Home as well as the Beechfield Private Homecare service.

TCL Group (Ireland) (4 Nursing Homes and 1 site): TLC is a provider of retirement care services based in Dublin, Ireland. The company specialises in luxury nursing homes for elderly people. It has been reported that the sale price of TLC Nursing Homes portfolio would exceed €150m for 4 Nursing Homes, comprising 674 beds (Santry, Cara Care, Maynooth, Citywest and Carton nursing homes) and a site in Ireland.

Bartra is a leading nursing homes developer in the healthcare sector in Ireland. We source, build and manage our projects from start to finish. The chart below explains our project development and exit process.

Nursing Home Process

At Bartra, we build communities for life where everyone can contribute. We create environments and services in which people are valued, included and respected. And we put great emphasis on facilitating and encouraging residents to continue to pursue their hobbies and interests while living in our nursing homes.

What is it like to attend secondary school in Ireland?

Preparing your children for the Irish Education System

When you search for schools in Ireland, you’ll likely come across a range of articles on Ireland’s higher education institutions, namely, Trinity College Dublin. But for parents with children yet to enter higher studies, how is school life in Ireland like for them?

Irish School System Explained

The Education System in the Republic of Ireland is made up of primary, second, third-level, and further education. Similar to Hong Kong, where school is compulsory for children between the ages of 6 to 15, Irish education is compulsory from the ages of 6 to 16 or until the student has completed 3 years of second-level education. Second-level education, which is also referred to as the junior cycle, starts when the child is 12 years old. At the end of the junior cycle, students are required to take The Junior Certificate or JCPA examination, followed by a Transition Year. This year is particularly interesting because it focuses on education and training for the students through work experiences. There are no formal examinations during this year.

Ireland schools ranking

Ireland schools ranking

Ireland schools ranking

Then, in the post-primary school phase, students enter their senior cycle, which is 2 years of school education that prepares them to enter higher-level institutions. Children in Ireland get to choose between one of three programs, including the established Leaving Certificate, the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme, or the Leaving Certificate Applied. Each of these state examinations prepares children with different learning experiences.

If your child is planning to enter universities, institutes of technology, or colleges, the established Leaving Certificate sets them up for that. Instead, if your child already recognizes what technical subjects they are interested in, they can choose the Leaving Certificate Vocational Programme, specialized in vocational training. Different from Hong Kong, the education system in Ireland also offers a third option, which is the Leaving Certificate Applied Programme. With a primary objective to prepare children for the adult working life, this programme is more focused on establishing the children’s spiritual, intellectual, social, emotional, aesthetic, and physical abilities.

 Irish Education System Ireland Secondary School

With the Irish school system extremely child-centered and based around the concept of collaborative learning, students get the option to experience a range of subjects, encouraging them to take part in things like business studies and entrepreneurial competitions. Here, we have an Irish secondary school teacher giving her insights into the Irish school system:

Local and International Students Entering the Ireland Education System

International students in Hong Kong mostly take the GCSE and IB Diploma Programme, following the UK system. Whereas, as mentioned, Ireland students take one of the three Leaving Certificates. Though there is not an apple-to-apple equivalent, International students do not have a problem applying for higher education in Ireland with their GCSE (broadly equivalent to the junior cycle) and IB Diploma (similar to the Leaving Certificates). On the other hand, Hong Kong education qualifications, such as the HKDSE, is also recognized by higher-level institutions in Ireland. On average, a grade of 44333 meets the general entrance requirements for university colleges, such as University College Dublin.

There are lots of studies in Ireland seminars happening around Hong Kong, which should well be able to facilitate further understanding of the alignments of the different educational systems. Here are some helpful links as well:

 Irish Education System Ireland Secondary School

Students can decide to further their studies in Ireland, where universities are as good as, if not even better in certain subjects, than Cambridge and Oxford. Students who have obtained their Leaving Certificate in Ireland with a grade of H1, H2, H2, H2, H3, H3, have already met the minimum grade for enrolling in universities in the UK. Therefore, the option of continuing their studies in the UK is also completely attainable. 

 Irish Education System Ireland Secondary School

Overall, student outcomes in Ireland and student attainment are extremely positive. Ireland now is an extremely multicultural society, where there is net inward migration and all students would and do feel very welcome in the system.

Here at Bartra Wealth Advisors, we deliver streamlined, in-group, end-to-end services that can help bring you and your family to Ireland. Our unique business model supports clients throughout their investment and immigration journey, from immigration advisory and government-backed IIP projects through to exit executions. We maintain a 100% application approval rate and a 100% renewal rate. Simply scroll down to download your step by step IIP guide and assess if Ireland can be your next move.