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.
(Hong Kong, 30 September 2022) – Bartra, one of Ireland’s leading real estate developers, has announced the repayment in 2022 of €93 million to investors who invested in social housing and nursing home projects with Bartra via Ireland’s immigration investment programme. The repayment is being made following the successful completion and sale of a number of social housing and nursing home projects to institutional investors in line with the business plans for these projects.
The construction of Bartra’s social housing and nursing home schemes is funded by investors participating in the Irish Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP). The IIP was introduced by the Irish government in 2012 and uses the immigration system to incentivise foreign investment into critically needed infrastructure such as social housing and nursing homes. The programme is managed by the Immigration Service Delivery (ISD) Unit, a dedicated department within the Irish Department of Justice.
The key benefit of the IIP for many investors is the prospect of residency rights in Ireland within a short timeframe. It typically takes six months for approval and Ireland does not require investors to spend any more than one day per year in the country to maintain their residency. Due to Ireland’s strong and robust economy, high-quality education system, and excellent accessibility to its EU and UK neighbours, the IIP is currently growing at a fast pace, particularly in Asia. According to the Irish Ministry of Justice, from 2016 to 2021, there were 2,226 IIP applications with most investments made into the Enterprise option (61%).
Bartra provides social housing and nursing home IIP investment opportunities under the Enterprise investment route for high-net-worth families who are interested in emigrating to Ireland.
“Both of these asset classes are priority investment areas for the Irish State and Bartra has a strong track record of delivering projects in line with business plan and repaying investors. The total successful repayment amount of over €90 million to be made this year will mark one of the largest IIP repayments in history from a single Irish developer.” Daniel Hinds, Bartra Wealth Advisors Chief Operating Officer commented.
Hinds added: “Bartra Wealth Advisors was established to provide one-stop-shop Irish immigration services. With our unique business model and the backing of our parent company, we are able to support clients throughout the investment and immigration process, from immigration consulting and applying for qualified IIP programmes to landing services and ensuring investments are repaid. To date, Bartra has maintained a 100% application approval rate, 100% renewal rate and 100% repayment rate.”
Bartra intends to continue to raise funds from the IIP to develop bundles of social housing and nursing home projects on sites it owns, providing full visibility to IIP investors on the nature of the projects that they are investing in.
Batra launched its social housing business to focus on the provision of much-needed family homes and has completed three projects to date, with three more under construction. The company has established a dedicated social housing team, which is tasked with identifying development sites suitable for social housing where Bartra can deliver attractive investment opportunities to investors. Andrew Ennis, Director of Investments and Structuring at Bartra, 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 tenants 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.”
Bartra invited an IIP client who received his investment principal to visit a social housing project in Poplar Row, Dublin.
In the healthcare sector, Bartra builds, manages and operates projects from start to finish, providing premium clinical care services for residents. Led by 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). Bartra intends to build more much-needed healthcare homes in Ireland, in proximity to major hospitals and transport hubs, to service an ever growing elderly population cohort.
And as 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. Selling the healthcare developments to institutional investors is also part of Bartra’s development exit strategy to repay their IIP investors. Last month, Bartra sold a portfolio of nursing homes to Belgian Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) Aedifica for approximately €161 million. The portfolio, which has capacity for 617 residents, consists of two brand new nursing homes located in Loughshinny (Skerries) and Northwood (Santry), an HSE transitional care unit in Beaumont (Artane), and the forward purchase of Clondalkin Lodge nursing home, which is currently in development.
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.
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:
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 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 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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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
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.
To understand the intent and views of the people of Hong Kong on emigrating overseas, Bartra Wealth Advisors (‘Bartra’), a subsidiary of Ireland’s market leading real estate developer and the first Irish immigration investment advisory in Hong Kong, conducted an online survey on emigration. From 1,200 responses, the survey found that 84% of respondents are currently considering or will consider emigrating overseas, among which the majority are high-income individuals including office workers, business people and professionals.
According to the survey, among the respondents who intend to emigrate about 85% of respondents claim that they will not leave Hong Kong within a year of obtaining an approval of their application to emigrate. The survey also found that over 50% of respondents’ decision to emigrate is in order to improve their living environment, while approximately 30% want their children to obtain a better education. To obtain a foreign residency/citizenship and political factors each account for 20%. As the people of Hong Kong gain a better understanding of Ireland, the country has increased in popularity as a destination for relocation, more so than other European countries and Malaysia. Currently, the top three destinations are the UK, Taiwan and the US. Meanwhile, the top three areas of concern for Hongkongers deciding to emigrate are the associated costs, the ease of application and language. Over 40% of respondents have considered obtaining residency by immigration investment, for which they care most about the security, return, and duration of the investment project, according to the findings of the survey.
Jeffrey Ling, Bartra Wealth Advisors Regional Manager, said, “Although the UK is still the top pick for relocation for the people of Hong Kong, uncertainty increased after Brexit which may affect the politico-economic environment in the UK. As a member of the European Union and part of the Common Travel Area with the UK, Ireland, an English-speaking country, is a gateway to both the UK and EU countries with promising business prospects; it is the first choice for many companies looking to relocate their headquarters. Moreover, this survey reveals that Hong Kong people require a great deal of flexibility around application and residency requirements via investment immigration, and they show a high degree of concern about the robustness and security of the investment projects. Both of these requirements are met by the Immigrant Investor Programme (‘IIP’) qualified projects that Bartra offers.”
Since the desire of high-net-worth clients to immigrate is strong and their top choice remains the UK, Bartra recommends they ensure a full understanding of the local investment market performance before immigrating. Wealth and investment management firm Harris Fraser was specially invited to conduct market analysis and share views on investment opportunities and wealth management trends. Cyrus Chan, Harris Fraser Investment Strategist, said, “With widespread vaccination programmes underway, the global economy is expected to recover faster than expected. However, although the UK and the EU came to an agreement for Brexit last year, relevant implementation details still need to be clarified. The troubled British economy may rebound, and the Irish economy will benefit from it. In addition, with the structural changes in the global economic environment, the wealth management needs of high-net-worth clients increase accordingly. Currently, more popular investment strategies include yield enhancement strategy, financial leverage, Euro asset allocation and focus on the healthcare sector.”
The pandemic has disrupted the relocation plans of many people in Hong Kong. According to the survey, Hongkongers require more time as well as a high degree of flexibility when planning for emigration. Jay Cheung, Bartra Wealth Advisors Marketing Director, said, “In the current climate, investment immigration services and products need to have three advantages: 1) high flexibility and fast-track process; 2) product safety and strong demand; 3) ability to add value and integrate with wealth management services.”
By investing in Ireland’s Immigrant Investor Programme (‘IIP’), application will be approved within 4-6 months, and applicants are only required to reside one day per year in Ireland to maintain their residency; in other words, they can obtain a foreign residency without relocating. Many of Bartra’s clients have already been granted permanent residency of Ireland, but have remained living and working in Hong Kong. In addition, Bartra commands unrivalled creditability in Irish immigration consultancy services. The Social Housing and Nursing Home projects Bartra offers to Hong Kong clients planning to obtain permanent residency in Ireland can be achieved in three or five years, and both guarantee 100% investment capital protection. They each have an approval and renewal rate of 100%. In addition, the Nursing Home project has an annual return of 4% paid on maturity, which is fitting of a high demand healthcare sector. As for the ability to integrate wealth management services, apart from cash, IIP applicants can use stocks, funds, cash value of insurance policies, properties, or even parking spaces and valuable paintings and collectibles etc., for asset requirement approval. Some clients will seek advice from financial services to pledge/refinance their assets to fund investment immigration in the current low interest environment so as to obtain residency without exiting from existing investments.
Pictures are Bartra’s press conference in early February.
Bartra is delighted to have once again been recognised by the industry at CORPHUB’s Most Outstanding Enterprise Awards in Hong Kong. Following our success at last year’s ceremony where we took home four awards, this year we were named Most Trusted Immigration Investment Services by the prestigious professional platform, which seeks to highlight enterprises on the rise and celebrate their achievements in various sectors.
At Bartra, we strongly believe that what makes us successful is our business model. As the only Irish developer with a physical office in Hong Kong that offers investors direct investments into our safe, transparent, fixed asset projects, along with the opportunity to gain Irish residency, we are the leading IIP provider and the strongest player in the market.
We pride ourselves on our 100% success and renewal rate, our robust projects in qualifying Social Housing and Nursing Homes projects, and our unmatched expertise in the IIP. Compared to other European immigration programmes, our Social Housing project offers a 100% repayment guarantee and the exit strategy is simple and straightforward without any of the hassle related to liquidation or concerns around market performance. Investors in our Nursing Homes projects enjoy the same simple and straightforward exit strategy, and receive a 20% return (4% interest each year) upon exit of the Euro1 million, five-year investment on top of obtaining Irish residency. This ensures that our IIP is not only cost-free but includes an excellent return which investors can put towards a property purchase or their children’s education. The safety of the investment coupled with the excellent return makes the IIP one of the most attractive investment migration programmes in the world.
To find out what makes Bartra’s business successful, watch the exclusive interview with our Regional Manager, Jeffrey Ling, below (in Cantonese).
In our previous article, we discussed four important things to be aware of post-Brexit. But the UK-EU deal presents opportunities, too.
From 1980 to 2020, Europe’s five largest economies have consistently been France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. However, as COVID-19 has raged through Europe and the UK has departed from the European Union, many EU nations are facing deep recessions, with the economy of the EU forecast to contract by a record 7.4% in 2020.
Meanwhile, Ireland’s star has been rising. Ireland remains a strong and committed member of the EU post-Brexit. Politically, it is taking its place among the nations of the world. On a per-head basis, Ireland has a good claim to be the world’s most diplomatically powerful country. In July 2020, the 19 finance ministers of the eurozone elected Irish finance minister Paschal Donohoe to be the president of their influential Eurogroup, putting Ireland in a powerful position as the EU debates ways to deal with the economic fallout of the global pandemic. In October, the EU appointed Ireland’s Mairead McGuinness as the new commissioner in charge of financial services. Ireland also won a place on the UN Security Council, securing one of the ten rotating seats to join the five permanent members that include the US, UK, Russia, France and China.
Economically, Ireland remains a popular choice for investors looking to access the European market. With a low corporate tax rate of 12.5% (among the lowest in Europe) and favourable tax system, Ireland is a highly sought-after location for foreign investment and businesses. While the Global Financial Crisis caused a contraction in Ireland’s economy, which had been flourishing for the decade prior, it has regained its stability and for the past six years has been one of the strongest developed countries in Europe. And in terms of quality of life, Ireland ranked joint second with Switzerland, beating Sweden, Germany and the UK.
With a Brexit deal now agreed between the UK and the EU, Ireland appears to be the land of opportunity, particularly when it comes to global competitiveness. Here are four important elements to consider:
1. Business and employment
The Irish Government has continued to demonstrate its commitment to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) by establishing a business environment that is conducive to FDI activity and Ireland remains a location of choice for many of the world’s leading companies. Indeed, more than 1,100 companies, including many of the world’s leading brands, have decided to place Ireland at the hub of their European operations. Additionally, 70 individual investments related to Brexit, with more than 5,000 associated jobs, have been approved since the UK’s EU referendum in June 2016, according to Ireland’s Foreign Investment Agency, IDA Ireland’s 2019 figures.
Cityscape of Dublin Docklands and river Liffey with modern buildings and barge on river. To date companies that have announced investments in Ireland connected to Brexit include Barclays, Morgan Stanley, TD Securities, Wasdell, Delphi/Aptiv, Simmons & Simmons, S&P Global, Thomson Reuters, Equilend and Coinbase. And Dublin remains the most popular destination for financial services firms to relocate to post-Brexit according to EY’s Brexit Tracker.
Besides the financial sector, Ireland is home to 9 of the top 10 global pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Roche and Novartis. It is also the base for many US Tech titans; IBM was the first US tech firm to set up in Ireland in 1956, with Google, Microsoft, Intel, Apple and Facebook moving in more recently. Last year, Apple celebrated 40 years of continued investment and reinvestment in Cork.
“For US companies with ambitions to be global players, Ireland is a natural fit for their international operations,” said Martin Shanahan, CEO of IDA Ireland. According to IDA, 245,096 people were directly employed in the multinational sector in Ireland in 2019, representing about 10% of the Irish labour force.
Although the US remains Ireland’s largest overseas investor, investments into Ireland from China have surged in recent years. According to the Rhodium Group, FDI from China into Europe declined in 2019, but the opposite was true for Ireland. Figures from Baker McKenzie show that investment from Chinese companies rose 56% in 2019 through various M&A deals and expansions, meaning the world’s second-largest economy is becoming increasingly important to Ireland. Among these, Huawei announced a €70 million ($76.7 million) investment into research and development in Ireland in 2019, while in 2020 TikTok announced its plans to build €420 million ($500 million) data centre in Ireland.
The presence of foreign/international companies helps to create strong job markets which are crucial to immigrants. With more job opportunities in professional sectors, immigrants and any graduate children do not have to sacrifice their professional career and remuneration. With an increasing number of multinational firms, this could see the country open up.
2. Favourable market environment
The EU’s Single Market environment, together with the adoption of the Euro and support from the combined power of 27 Member States, have strengthened the Irish economy and allowed it to flourish. Ireland is now a nation with a modern economy based on free trade, foreign investment and growth.
It also has one of the most favourable tax regimes in the world, attracting hundreds of foreign companies. This is strengthened by the government’s long term commitment to its 12.5% corporate tax rate.
Language is vital for communication. And English is now the global language of business as well as being spoken at a useful level by some 1.75 billion people worldwide – or one in four people. Multinational companies are increasingly mandating English as the common corporate language. For two decades, English has been the ‘lingua franca’ of EU institutions in Brussels, used by EU policymakers to communicate about laws regulating subjects like energy, security and trade. After Brexit, Ireland will be the only Member State where English is spoken as its first language.
Ireland may have EU membership, a favourable tax system and a global first language, but it’s keen to offer more to boost its growth and productivity. The nation is currently updating its rules around private funds to encourage more alternative investment managers to use the country as a base for their European operations. The rules have been designed to appeal to private fund managers based in the UK who will lose the “passporting” rights that have allowed them to sell investment products across the EU pre- Brexit. Ireland is already Europe’s second-largest fund centre with more than 560 international managers using the country as a domicile from where they can sell their products across Europe and Asia, and this will only increase its appeal. Managers that establish Irish investment limited partnerships will be granted more flexibility when establishing private equity, private credit, venture capital, infrastructure, renewable energy and real estate funds under legislation which was approved in December 2020 in the Dáil, the Irish parliament. The reforms are expected to create several thousand jobs and new income streams for service providers. Currently, more than 16,000 staff are directly employed in Ireland’s fund industry including portfolio managers, administrators, trustees, auditors, compliance, legal and tax advisers.
3. Freedom of movement – UK and EU
Ireland remains a vital member of the EU and continues to benefit from the union’s economic and political stability. As EU citizens, Irish nationals can continue to live and work freely in any EU Member State and Irish citizens continue to enjoy other privileges, such as access to the European Health Insurance Card that provides them with healthcare while traveling throughout the EU. Students belonging to Irish institutions have access to the Erasmus+ programme and the right to study in the EU. Other perks for Irish nationals include waived mobile phone roaming charges when traveling within the EU.
Ireland will be the only bridgehead into both the EU and the UK following Brexit. The Common Travel Area (CTA) is a long-standing arrangement between the UK, the British Crown Dependencies (Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man) 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.
Thanks to its strategic relationships with the EU and the UK, and the freedom of movement that these provide, many international companies see Ireland as an important gateway to both the UK and Europe.
4. The popularity of Irish residency and citizenship
As Brexit sees the UK and EU go their separate ways, EU nationals residing in the UK must now apply for settlement, while UK citizens residing in the EU must follow suit and obtain resident permits. But there’s an exception – the Irish. And for this reason, Irish residency and citizenship are becoming increasingly attractive.
In particular, the Irish Investment Migration Programme is gaining popularity among wealthy individuals, not just because of its links to the EU and UK, but also due to its safety and simplicity. Compared to other Golden Visa programmes in Europe, the Irish Investor Immigrant Programme (IIP) outshines its peers. When investing in enterprises under the IIP’s investment options, the required holding period of 3 years is low compared to other European investment migration options (Greece, for example, requires an indefinite holding period), while the exit strategy is simple and straightforward without the need to liquidate investments; you simply get your money back. The IIP also only requires investment after approval, and unlike in other countries where the investment is required in real estate, investments in the IIP are hassle-free when it comes to exiting with no need for property management firms to rent out properties for ROI, nor the need for brokers to find buyers once the holding period is over. IIP makes the Irish immigration process simple, clean and efficient. To find out more, read about the Irish Investment Migration Programme on IMI.
Obtaining Irish residency in the most durable bridge between two of the strongest economies in the world, the EU and the UK, following Brexit, and is undoubtedly a wise move for international investors. This is something which the IIP sets the stage for in 2021. And we believe that interest in the IIP will only increase as businesses and affluent individuals recognise the personal and professional advantages of maintaining a foothold in Europe, and foresee strong demand from China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, India and the UAE, as well as interest from South Africa, Canada and the UK.
To find out more about our IIP, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Missed Brexit and beyond Part 1? Click here to read.
The UK and the European Union (EU) finally agreed a deal on Christmas Eve that will define their future relationship. It replaces the partnership they have shared for the last 47 years. But will this take Brexit off the front pages or stop Brits talking about it? Or has the real Brexit battle only just begun? We have put together a summary of Brexit-related information to help you gain a better understanding of what the future holds for the UK and Europe.
What do we know about the deal?
The 1,246-page trade agreement has detailed provisions on many issues and contains new rules for how the UK and EU will live, work and trade together. Importantly, it means no tariffs or quotas will be introduced. However, while the deal came into force on 1 January, with everything left so late many people and businesses have not had much time to prepare for the changes.
There are four key things to be aware of:
The British government’s own fiscal watchdog, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), has said that the deal will dampen long-term GDP by 4%, meaning Brexit is projected to do more economic damage to Britain than COVID-19. The deal is also seen as a ‘thin’ deal, which means it leaves many unresolved issues to be dealt with in later negotiations.
Yes, the UK has avoided tariffs on trade, but there will now be other complexities and mountains of paperwork. The UK benefited from access to more than 20 EU systems, which do everything from track the movements of goods and vehicles to store risk profiles for goods and producers from around the world, with the UK sharing its own data as part of this. But after Brexit, although tariffs for goods will be dropped, more friction may ensue as a result of other trade barriers, such as the administrative burden on traders, complicated border processes, and limited information sharing between customs authorities. Additionally, the new import and export declarations alone are likely to cost UK companies £7.5 billion ($10.3 billion) annually, according to HM Revenue & Customs.
Unemployment will also be a challenge post-Brexit. Since the June 2016 referendum, the job market has been contracting, with many companies leaving the UK, downsizing or cutting jobs. For example, in the financial services sector, Aviva, Britain’s second-largest insurer, stated that it would move £7.8 billion worth of assets to Ireland, while Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) announced a merger between its UK and Irish subsidiaries, transferring 125 jobs to Dublin, which remains BAML’s European headquarters. Additionally, British bank Barclays is transferring £166bn of its clients’ assets to the Irish capital, while Credit Suisse plans to move about 250 bankers from London to other European financial hubs. According to EY, £1.2 trillion ($1.6 trillion) of assets, along with around 7,500 employees, have been transferred out of the UK to the EU, including to Dublin, Luxembourg, Frankfurt and Paris by financial services firms.
UK unemployment is forecast to reach 2.6 million by mid-2021, according to the government’s economic watchdog, which represents 7.5% of the working-age population. This will compound the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has resulted in nearly 300,000 jobs lost in the hospitality sector since February 2020. In addition, retail has shed 160,000 jobs as non-essential shops have been forced to shut, and culture has seen 89,000 jobs go. And those figures are only for staff on company payrolls; thousands more casual workers and freelancers have been affected too. It seems unlikely that the UK’s economy will rebound quickly.
2. End of free movement
UK citizens and residents will no longer have the right to work, live, study or start a business in the EU without a visa, though short stays will be allowed (visa waivers will apply). This doesn’t help those seeking to travel frequently and do business in the EU. Comparing market capacity, the UK’s population is about 66.4 million, but the European Union’s, excluding the UK, is six times larger, which may lead to unfavourable business opportunities.
COVID-19 has also movement less free. The UK is Europe’s worst-hit country, with more than 40 countries banning UK arrivals in December 2020. There were hundreds of passengers at London’s Heathrow Airport scrambling onto the last flight to Dublin minutes before a travel ban set in at midnight on 20 December to nations across Europe. Tighter measures may apply with prolonged quarantine and pre-departure PCR tests likely required even when the situation begins to ease.
Students and young people from Britain will no longer be able to take part in the Europe-wide Erasmus exchange programme. Since 1987, the Erasmus programme has provided opportunities for students to go on exchange abroad, linked schools across the EU and offered work experience and apprenticeships in European countries. Around 200,000 people, including 15,000 British university students, have participated in the programme in its latest incarnation.
Vivienne Stern, the Director of Universities UK International, told The Guardian, “As I understand it, there will be grants for young people not just in universities but broader than that, to support study and possibly working and volunteering. These experiences help graduates gain employment, especially for students from low-income backgrounds who are the least likely to be able to travel abroad otherwise.” She added that any Erasmus replacement needed to be “ambitious and fully funded”, and that it “must also deliver significant opportunities for future students to go global, which the Erasmus programme has provided to date.”
4. Financial services competitiveness
No deal has been agreed for financial services, which will be worrying for many would-be emigrants holding professional qualifications, particularly as these qualifications will no longer be mutually recognised between the UK and EU and professional persons will have to be separately registered in each.
The EU and UK have not yet struck a deal that will provide UK banks and asset managers with access to European markets. EU regulators are unlikely to allow London to keep the benefits of the single market without its obligations, and EU banks will have to cease from using platforms in the UK for swaps, certain derivatives and Euro-denominated stocks from January. UK financial services firms will lose their passporting rights, which in the past allowed them to sell funds, debt, advice, or insurance into the EU from their UK base without the need for additional regulatory clearances.
Worse, it means that UK firms have to agree and comply with the individual rules of each of the EU 27 Member States if they wish to sell financial services there. The implications for a loss of financial services activity from the UK to the EU are significant.
Due to Brexit, almost 30 financial groups have moved operations from London to Dublin. “We’re now seeing those financial services firms who have relocated, gained their licensing and are operationally ready, focus a lot more on ‘business as usual’,” said Cormac Kelly, financial services Brexit lead for EY Ireland in an interview with the Irish Times.
The post-Brexit trade agreement leaves many questions unanswered, but while there is uncertainty, there is likely also opportunity. Stay tuned for Part 2 of our Brexit and beyond article, where we look at what else lies ahead for the UK and the EU.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” – Benjamin Franklin
We know how important making plans ahead of time can be, which is why we are publishing this piece now instead of waiting for the Brexit transition due to take place on 31 December. Here, we hope to share some insights with would-be immigrants currently looking at whether the United Kingdom should be their future home given the uncertainty surrounding Brexit and BN(O) citizenship.
Immigration is potentially the biggest decision that an individual or family will make in their life, and it’s complex. You need to understand your options, prepare and know what to expect on relocation.
The UK is considered a traditional immigration hotspot by Hongkongers. But is it the only option? The Republic of Ireland, Europe’s rising star, has been gaining traction internationally, with its capital, Dublin, an emerging financial centre and technology hub. In terms of GDP per capita, Ireland is ranked among the wealthiest countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the EU-27. It’s certainly a worthy contender for would-be immigrants to consider.
But first, a bit of background.
Strong Historical Links
For over a century and a half, from 1842 Hong Kong was a British colony before being handed back to China in 1997. And lasting legacies of this time endure in Hong Kong, particularly with regards to education, which is largely modelled on systems in the UK, specifically England.
As early as the 1100s, Ireland was ruled by the British, with some considering Ireland to be England’s first colony. Whatever its status, Ireland inherited much from the Brits, not least elements of its education system, which has evolved over the years and is now ranked 6th best in the world and is home to seven top-level universities.
Hong Kong people are, therefore, more familiar with Ireland than they might think. Hong Kong is also home to more than 6,000 graduates from Irish universities, and the education sector in Hong Kong has long-established Irish links; tens of thousands of people in Hong Kong have studied in Catholic schools run by Irish priests. Additionally, many of the colonial Governors of Hong Kong were born in Ireland or claimed Irish heritage, as were civil servants, police and judges from throughout Hong Kong’s colonial past. Today, many Irish business people, teachers and other professionals continue to build strong ties between Hong Kong and the Emerald Isle.
Education is of prime importance to parents, with early childhood education instrumental in a child’s social and intellectual development. In both the UK and Ireland, once residency is obtained children of applicants are able to enjoy free education and free choice of schools.
Some Hong Kong parents prefer that their children study in private schools where the student-to-teacher ratio is often lower, allowing teachers to spend more time on average with each student. However, with a smaller population in Ireland than in Hong Kong or the UK, both public and private schools offer small classes.
When it comes to comparing the ‘style’ of education, the Irish government pays more attention to personal development than schools in Hong Kong tend to, and students have less pressure when it comes to academic studies. However, Ireland believes that education is closely related to national planning, and vigorously promotes science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, with a vision to make Ireland an international centre for technology, science and financial services. Although some parents may send their children to top universities in the UK on completion of secondary education in Ireland, many have come to realise that Ireland has just as much to offer as England’s finest further education institutions such as Cambridge or Oxford. To learn more, take a look at our article on the many strengths of the Irish education system.
Trinity College Dublin, the University of Dublin is Ireland’s leading university, ranked No. 1 in Ireland and 101st in the world
So what are the options for those considering immigration and what costs and requirements are involved?
UK BN(O), UK Investor Visa and Irish IIP
For a BN(O) visa application, there is no direct cost or investment amount required. Expenses will be based on the costs of living for the whole family for at least five years. It’s important to pay attention to the restrictions of this option, as the whole family is required to reside in the UK to maintain residency. Additionally, BN(O) residents in the UK are restricted from accessing public funds. In most circumstances, BN(O) residents will not be able to enjoy social benefits, but will still be liable to taxes and national insurance. It is also worth noting that the UK is reviewing its Capital Gains Tax, which may usher in higher taxes or cut tax exemption.
UK Investor Visa
HNWIs seeking a residency visa for the UK can consider the Tier 1 Investor visa. The investment entry level is GBP 2 million, which is comparatively lower than the investment fund required by similar programmes in, for example, Australia or New Zealand.
Successful applicants will be granted a Tier 1 Investor visa initially valid for 3 years. The Tier 1 Investor visa can be extended for an additional two years as long as the main applicant does not spend more than 180 days outside the UK per year. It can also lead to UK permanent residency if the holders are able to meet the annual residency requirement for five consecutive years and maintain the investment fund.
The Irish IIP is a cost-minimised immigration approach to obtain a foreign residency. It requires a EUR 1 million investment into INIS-approved projects for a minimum 3-year investment period to receive a Residence Permit (in the form of a Stamp-4 visa) upon approval. There a number of options for investment, but the Enterprise Investment route is the most popular. Bartra offers two Enterprise Investment options, Social Housing and Nursing Homes, both of which are safe and government-backed. The Social Housing scheme has a 3-year investment period with 100% repayment and no interest offered, while the Nursing Homes scheme is a 5-year investment with a 4% annual return (paid on exit), and 100% capital protection. The income from these projects is derived from a Sovereign Government, which is often described as ‘recession-proof’, even when taking into account external factors such as Brexit or global recession.
Transferability and Recognition
The Irish IIP is a straightforward immigration approach where applicants can receive permanent residency in one step, unlike for other immigration programmes where visas are initially only granted for temporary stay. The IIP has no travel restrictions to maintain residency status – just one-day residency in Ireland per calendar year is necessary. It provides flexibility and allows people to have a residency without moving, so there is no necessity to give up current jobs or businesses. This residency is later transferred to citizenship through naturalisation, which can be started at any time.
The Irish passport is the joint sixth strongest in the world, based on the number of countries its holders can visit visa-free. Its ranking is ahead of the US, the UK, Belgium, Switzerland and Norway, and it is the only passport in the world to provide both EU citizenship and the right to reside and work in the UK.
Comparatively, the BN(O) Visa offers five-year temporary residency, while a minimum stay of six months per year in the UK is required to maintain this residency status and there is no guarantee of transferability to permanent residency or citizenship at a later stage. It is also worth mentioning that the Chinese government is considering a ban on the use of the BN(O) passport as a legal travel document.
Similarly, the Tier 1 Investor visa requires that the applicant spend no more than 180 days absent from the UK in any 12 month period for 5 consecutive years in addition to the GBP 2 million investment. With an investment of GBP 10 million, two consecutive years with the same annual residency requirement are required.
The IIP investor and his/her family will be granted a Stamp 4 Visa, which is top-class immigration status. The immigrant also benefits from the added flexibility of being able to hold this status and enjoy social welfare benefits without having to reside in Ireland. Stamp 4 Visa holders’ children can enjoy free primary and secondary education and will pay the same university school fees as locals.
The BN(O) Visa is simply a means to work and reside temporarily in the UK. These immigrants have no access to social welfare benefits and its holders are often described as second-class citizens, which is an important element to bear in mind as quality of life should be a key consideration when weighing up options.
A Client Case Study
Bartra Wealth Advisors has received more than 1,600 enquiries related to immigration to Ireland in the past three months. Since August 2019, we have helped more than 50 families from Hong Kong successfully apply for Irish residency.
Jeffrey Ling, Regional Manager at Bartra Wealth Advisors in Hong Kong, shared one client story. Peter and May (both pseudonyms) are married with three children attending elementary school in Hong Kong. High-income, senior professionals, the couple had purchased properties in Hong Kong for investment purposes. They were keen to send their children (or go with their children) overseas to study, with a preference for an English-speaking country. However, their biggest concern regarding immigration was that they may not be able to find a job with a similar level of income after relocation, especially considering the current challenging times. The flexibility of the IIP was attractive, as it allows them to keep their jobs in Hong Kong while also obtaining residency overseas. In addition, due to its minimal residency requirement, they are considered non-Irish tax residents residing for fewer than 183 days a year, so there is no fear of double taxation. With its stable economic environment, strong legal system, world-class education, and accessibility to both the UK and EU, the couple felt that Ireland and the IIP fit their needs perfectly. The Advisory Agreement was signed with Bartra predominantly because the Enterprise Investment option we provide offers 100% capital protection with transparent and clear investment procedures. To find out more about the IIP and the projects we offer, start by reading our article The 4 Things You Must Know About the Ireland Immigrant Investor Programme.
In a recent webinar with South China Morning Post, we compared investment and immigration opportunities in the UK and in Ireland. Guest speakers included Liam Baily, Global Head of Research at Knight Frank; James Hartshorn, CEO and Co-Founder at Bartra; and Cheryl Arcibal, business and property journalist at South China Morning Post.
We hope this article provides you with the information you need to weigh up the available options and consider what works best for you and your families in terms of cost, requirements and quality of life.
Look out for upcoming articles where we’ll be comparing the economy and property markets in the UK and Ireland. If you have any questions or would like to find out more about the IIP, feel free to contact us directly.
Book an appointment to speak with one of our consultants.