As the data shows, there seems to be a slight drop in the number of investors applying for the Ireland residency by investment visa from preceding years.
Why? Ireland’s government rarely provides stats on its immigration program. But this has changed recently.
The Irish government is now showing application numbers and approval rates – going back to 2012.
What the Ireland RCBI Figures Tell Us
Ireland experienced a rising trajectory in application numbers up to 2019, with the first noticeable drop in 2020.
In 2020, only 340 applications were submitted, compared to 2019’s 442. This represented a 23% fall.
Approval rates didn’t seem to change much. 2019 saw 237 approvals, compared to 2020’s 267, which is a 13% rise.
So far, this means that approval rates are going up each year.
This is good news for investors who might be concerned about halts in the immigration business.
But What Are Aggregate Approval Rates Like?
For Ireland, they’re historically abysmal.
Ireland launched its investment program back in 2012 (11 years ago). Since then, 2016 applications were submitted by investors (up to late February 2021).
Of the 2016 applications, only 1197 were approved. This puts approval rates at 59%.
Thus, on paper, Ireland’s program has large entry barriers. Although deep inspection of the data shows otherwise.
Most years saw good approval rates exceeding 85%. The only horrible years were 2016 and 2018.
2016 saw 333 applications and 32 approvals (less than 10% acceptance). 2018 saw 423 applications and 156 approvals, which is barely a third.
What About Nationalities?
2020 didn’t see much change in the nationalities approved.
As the data shows, the overwhelming majority were Chinese (at 93%). Americans were an unnoticeable second at 1.8%.
So nationality diversity isn’t key in Ireland’s program. However, what’s interesting are its diverse investment categories.
Aggregate Investment Choices
Since 2012 (and up to late February 2021), approved investors have selected the following options:
- Enterprise (56%)
- Endowment (26%)
- Investment Fund (14%)
- Bonds and Mixed Investments (4%)
- REIT (4%)
While the total favor enterprise channels, that trend is slowly shifting.
In 2019 and 2020, endowment was the most popular option. It accounted for almost ½ of each year’s applications.
Also, 2019 brought the following:
- 145 enterprise applications (and 168 approvals)
- 219 endowment applications (and 49 approvals)
And 2020 brought the following
- 103 enterprise applications (and 76 approvals)
- 175 endowment applications (and 143 approvals)
In 2019, approval rates were noticeably high for enterprise choices. Alternatively, they were extremely low for endowment options.
This changed in the following year, with approval rates being similar for each option.
What About Investments Raised?
2020’s total investments were slightly less than 2019’s.
Investment fell from 209 million to 185 million euros. The cause of that might be the current pandemic and travel restrictions involved.
Regardless, Ireland’s program income has been well-spent on public funding, which includes the construction of nursing homes and social housing units.
The program is also extremely close to the 1 billion mark, which marks a huge milestone for it.