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.

How to assess risks of immigration investor programmes?

Thoroughly evaluating the risk profile of an immigration investor programme or investor residence scheme can seem daunting, as every programme and scheme has immigration and financial risks. Once committed, risks can change through the various stages of the process. It is imperative that project owners and investors have candid conversations about risk. To help guide those conversations, we have put together a list of some of the most prevalent risk factors and an explanation of the asset types which are commonly seen under immigration investor programmes as the underlying assets.

Risk Factor 1: The Programmes

Irish passport

Immigration, and investment immigration in particular, can be a key driver of a country’s economic growth. The inflow of investments and population mobility help a country to gain talent, high-net-worth families and capital. Immigrant investor programmes or investor resident schemes usually have higher asset and investment requirements with greater flexibility around travel and physical presence when compared to other lower-tier immigration programmes or quota-based skilled professional immigrant programmes. Most of these programmes aim to support local infrastructure, boost certain financial or commercial sectors or enhance community living through job creation and recreation. However, not all the programmes and schemes create a positive result for the country. For example, over-investment in the residential market can create a housing bubble where locals cannot afford to buy property in a reasonable timeframe with their salary and income. Other schemes may lead to a range of other risks particularly around security, money laundering, corruption and tax evasion. Some programmes may change due to political influences.

Travel and settling requirements, and the right of residency status are aspects that investors need to pay attention to. Most English-speaking countries will require actual residency for a minimum of five years. With regard to residency status, investors are advised to pay attention to the visa or permit types, as some may be issued in the form of a Temporary Resident Visa without the right to access local benefits, and may require investors to pass a language test, a medical test or to apply within a certain age bracket to obtain permanent residence.

Additionally, it’s important if holding a dual residency to check the country’s residence rules and when the tax year starts and ends. Staying in a country for more than 183 days in a tax year, may make an investor liable for taxation if the country has a global tax law, meaning that the investor’s overseas income is taxable to the country.

Risk Factor 2: The Projects

Construction Projects in Ireland

Investing in a good project in a stable market is the best way to mitigate market risk. This involves evaluating the market conditions in a particular geographic area, including demand, competition and financials.

To scope out the market conditions, investors and their advisors should thoroughly review a project’s market study. Independent research is required to look for indicators that the market is stable, shows strong signs of growth, and that the project will benefit from various drivers that will continue to push demand for the project. For example, a hotel would benefit from being located near a university, an attraction or an international airport, since these all have a broad base of users frequently looking for hotels. The market study, in addition to the business plan, should also discuss the competition. Look for signs that the project has a reasonable plan regarding how it will compete. It is also advised that investors understand the operational financial information and assumptions in the project’s business plan. For example, if a market study determines a hotel in a location will have an expected occupancy rate of x and an average daily rate of y, make sure those are the same figures used by the project. If not, run a stress test on the financials to see how it performs at these determined market rates.

The investor should assess a developer to see if they are creditworthy. Look for developers and operators with a trusted and extended track record. This helps show they can manage their business both when times are good and also during downturns.

A wider market assessment should also take into account the current pandemic situation, where some sectors, such as hotels, hospitality services and student accommodation, have been severely affected in a way that may affect a project’s financial stability.

Risk Factor 3: Liquidity and Return of Principal

Liquidity and Return of Principal

A looming concern for most investors is the return of their investment. Working with their advisor, investors should run financial models to see if a refinancing event or sale of the project would generate enough cash to pay back existing debt and investors. Assumptions in the project’s exit plan, such as the anticipated sale price or cap rate, should be cross-referenced with a market study or other available data to ensure it is reasonable.

Some projects are easy to exit, for example those where terms and repayment are specified in the Loan Agreement, while some may be affected by market performance when redeeming the investment such as funds or bonds. Some may have to sell the asset where, in the case of residential property for instance, the return of the capital would depend on the secondary market and market value. If it’s a business, it may depend on the valuation of the business entity, the tangible and intangible assets.

Understanding Asset Types and Their Values

To assist you on your journey, these are some of the most common types of investments an investor may encounter when researching immigration investor programmes:

Asset Types and Their Values


Closed-end funds are pooled money investments that have a primary focus. Investors need to understand how the fund is managed, whether the fund is approved and regulated by the local monetary and financial authority, what assets the fund invests in, and the fund’s performance either on asset value or profit. Repayment to investors would be dependent on the market condition and fund performance while management charges are also a consideration.


Some investor visas can be obtained by investing in Government Bonds or Corporate Bonds. Government Bonds are considered low-risk investments since the government backs them. Corporate Bonds can be share capital and/or loan capital in active and trading registered companies. Since these are equity market-linked, the value can be affected by a company’s credit rating, price volatility is higher and the risk level is also relatively higher.

Start-up and Entrepreneur

Start-up and Entrepreneur visas have expanded rapidly since 2012 as many governments like to encourage foreign capital to run businesses in the country to support the economy and employment development. Some programmes require applicants to have experience in business planning, management and control of financial resources on top of the investment requirement. There are many factors to consider including hiring and domestic competition. Exiting a business is also not a straightforward process and the value of the business depends on its tangible and intangible assets, which will all affect the return of the invested capital.

Real Estate – Residential


The most common investor residence schemes and investor citizenship schemes in the EU are residential property investments where the amount of money required usually does not exceed €500,000.

Although the entry point of these “Golden Visa” schemes is lower than many immigrant investor programmes, a spike of people investing in the private residential market is causing housing pressure in local metropolitan areas, with some programmes putting an end to it, including Lisbon and Porto in Portugal. Also, when buying residential properties, some investors may have concerns around the secondary market where it may not be easy to resell or exit from their investments.

Real Estate – Social Infrastructure

There are many advantages to investing in social infrastructure projects. They are tangible fixed assets and the programmes are often supported by governments to help local communities and increase capital inflow. These assets can be government-backed, either with a long lease signed with the government or with subsidies from government funds. Furthermore, due to the nature of population growth and ageing populations, and as a result of the financial crisis in 2008 and the 2020 global pandemic, there is a shortage in social housing and nursing home supply, while demand for these assets is strong, something that is true globally and not only specific to Ireland.

To learn more, read Impact Investing – The potential of Social Housing and Nursing Homes in Ireland.

Beaumont & Stoneybatter

As one of the largest property developers in Ireland and with a proven track record, Bartra is here to help you understand the value of nursing homes and social housing projects in Ireland and to mitigate your immigration risk.

Nursing home and social housing investments are under the IIP Enterprise Investment option. Before committing to any IIP Enterprise Investment, below are some of the questions investors would have to ask:

  • Who is the developer of the project and what is the scale of their portfolio?
  • Do they have a successful project completion track record and experience in running these types of projects?
  • Are these projects located in much-needed areas, such as Dublin?
  • Are these properties new-build, second hand, converted or refurbished developments? Valuations vary across developments, with new-builds having the highest value.
  • Do these projects qualify for immigrant investor programmes where the government’s initiative is to increase the supply of infrastructure?
  • What is the connection between the selling company and the developer, and where is the company registered?

Due to the IIP’s flexibility and its investment safety, Ireland is increasingly becoming an immigration hotspot, and more immigration companies have entered the market. By understanding the risks and asset types, we hope that investors can choose suitable immigration programmes and will be able to work with project owners collaboratively to increase the overall likelihood of success. We are proud of our services, our projects and our 100% success rate of helping our clients to obtain residency.

Ireland’s property market – a worthwhile investment

The hottest property markets for Hongkongers include London, Sydney, Vancouver, New York, Japan, Bangkok, Lisbon, and many more, but with a large number of multinational companies have established their European headquarters in Ireland (many more are planning to) and the IIP providing the opportunity for immigration to Ireland, its cities are looking increasingly attractive. And there are other benefits to be had, too.

Ireland’s property market has enjoyed steady growth over the last decade, particularly in the nation’s capital, Dublin and its surrounding commuter areas. This growth has been driven by a strong economy (see our blog on ‘Ireland’s Economy’) and high employment levels; GDP growth in 2018 was 5.6%, the second highest in Europe, and in the same year full-time employment grew 2.7%. This year, Ireland is the only developed economy to experience growth in GDP, boosted by exports from the Pharma and tech sectors, the chief economist at Goodbody Stockbrokers said.

Dublin has experienced continued international investment, particularly in the technology sector; it is home to Twitter’s EMEA headquarters and Facebook and Google’s European headquarters. Ireland also boasts a burgeoning medical technology industry, which performed particularly well in 2020, and many of its giants are based out of the capital.

In addition, a limited supply of homes in Dublin’s prime locations, coupled with a growing population that is predicted to increase by nearly a third before 2036 taking it to 1.76m, contribute to a high demand for property in the capital. In 2019, PwC ranked Dublin third out of 31 European cities for real estate investment and development in its 2019 PwC/ULI Emerging Trends in Real Estate Europe report.

There is plenty, then, to attract international property investors. And with similar procedures for purchasing a property in place in Ireland as there are in the UK, where many Hongkongers have chosen to invest in property, good value and promising returns also add to the appeal.

Dublin, for example, is well priced compared to some of its European counterparts. Home prices start from €400-500,000 for a one-bedroom flat in prime residential areas, such as South Dublin, according to Mei Wong, Executive Director – Head of International Residential Sales at Knight Frank, which deals in both residential and commercial property consultancy, while family homes start from €1 million, though in super-prime areas can exceed €10 million.

Location matters and ownership


Dublin’s most desirable areas to live in, particularly for a family home, are found in the South of the city, with Dublin 4, including Ballsbridge, Sandymount and Donnybrook, and Dublin 6, namely Ranelagh, Rathmines and Rathgar, holding greatest appeal. Each offers a range of housing options within easy reach of the city centre and is close to some of the city’s best schools including a number of those listed in The Sunday Times’ top 25 schools in Ireland in 2018. Blackrock, Monkstown, Dalkey and Killiney, also areas in south Dublin, are of growing interest thanks to their coastal locations offering attractive sea views.

Whether buyers are in search of houses or apartments, property titles are similar to those in the UK. Houses and townhouses are generally freehold, while flats, particularly new-build units, are likely to be leasehold (often 999 years). For those buying for investment, rental yields in and around Dublin are strong and have risen steadily since 2011, but vary according to the area.

Off-plan properties, which are often popular with Hongkongers, can offer attractive yields of between 4 and 6%, particularly in Greater Dublin where undersupply continues to drive growth and push up rental values. Apartments in Dublin 2, where a number of new developments are launching on the south quays, have particularly high rental yield potential, while property in more established areas of Dublin, such as Dublin 4 and Dublin 6, does not offer the same growth prospects.

Aside from Dublin, other areas worth considering include Cork, Ireland’s second most popular location for property investment; Limerick, which was named one of the Europe’s Cities of the Future in 2018/2019 by fDi Intelligence, a specialist division from The Financial Times Ltd.; and Galway, named European Capital of Culture 2020. These cities are attractive places to live, there are top schools, excellent medical facilities, and an array of lifestyle options such as golf courses, fishing and yachting.

There are a number of other elements to consider when purchasing overseas property, many of which set Ireland apart. Property taxes remain relatively low in Ireland. Stamp duty is 1% of the value of the property up to €1 million, then 2% on the balance over €1 million. Local property taxes are also modest, but vary according to location.

IIP investors will hold a Stamp 4 VISA, equivalent to a permanent residence permit, though there is currently no limit on the number of homes that can be purchased by a resident or non-resident, so prospective buyers and investors are able to purchase property at any stage of the residency process.

While most Hong Kong property buyers tend to be cash buyers, mortgages are available with an LTV of up to 70% with an interest rate of around 2.9%. Bartra works in partnership with EBS, one of Ireland’s largest financial institutions, to offer attractive and appropriate mortgages to its clients. For IIP program investors, it is worth bearing in mind that at maturity investors can expect around returns of €200,000 from a €1 million investment of Nursing Home projects, which could be put towards buying property.

Based on the resilience of property markets around the world, the global pandemic seems to have had little impact on buyers’ desires to purchase new homes. In fact, international investor enquiries have picked up as people have had time to consider new markets. And Ireland’s capital, set in an English-speaking country within the EU where residents enjoy high quality of life amidst a steadily growing economy, is a place where investors should feel confident in its potential.

If you are looking to invest in property in Ireland, watch our interview with Mei Wong, Executive Director – Head of International Residential Sales at Knight Frank, which is part of our “Immigration Insights with Bartra Wealth Advisors” video series. Mei and Jay Cheung, our Marketing Director, reveal some of Dublin’s most attractive areas for investors and considers the elements international buyers need to be aware of when contemplating property purchase in the Emerald Isle.

New launch – Glensavage, Avoca Road, Blackrock, by Bartra Homes


Apart from IIP projects, and as a leading property developer in Ireland, Bartra Group has diverse real estate portfolios. Bartra Homes has recently launched a premium residential development project, strategically located in a prestigious and highly sought after location in South Dublin, Blackrock. Glensavage is a beautiful hidden site of 2.49 acres (0.94 hectares) off Avoca Road in Blackrock.

You can visit the project website for specification details, layouts or simply contact us.

We also work with Knight Frank for other property investment opportunities.

Data source from Knight Frank’s residential property market reports.