Ireland among European countries to halt 'golden visas' for wealthy Russians

ireland
Ireland Among European Countries To Halt 'Golden Visas' For Wealthy Russians Ireland Among European Countries To Halt 'Golden Visas' For Wealthy Russians
Over the past decade, as many as 4,000 Russians obtained so-called “golden visas” in EU member states by investing more than €3 billion in property, government bonds or other assets. Photo: PA Images
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Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, several European countries have halted their “citizenship-residence by investment” schemes.

Countries such as the Czech Republic, Greece, Malta, and Portugal have halted their programmes for Russian citizens which provide so-called "golden visas" in return for significant investments.

In Ireland, "golden visas" can be obtained through the Immigrant Investor Programme (IIP) which was introduced in 2012. Applicants must have a personal wealth of more than €2 million and make long-term investments in a government-approved project.

However, last week, following questioning in the Dáil from Labour TD Ged Nash, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee confirmed that applications are no longer available to Russian citizens following the invasion of Ukraine.

"I have recently instructed that no further applications from Russian citizens will be accepted into the Immigrant Investor Programme," Ms McEntee said.

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"Only a very small number of applications under the IIP have been made by Russian citizens since the inception of the scheme in 2012 and none have been approved in recent years"

In Ireland, the minimum cost for the IPP is €500,000, with successful applicants being able to get nominated family members residence permission in Ireland.

Although, the IPP is not an actual visa scheme.

"Even if successful under the IIP, applicants would have to meet the normal criteria for naturalisation as set out in the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 as amended, in the same way as any other non-national seeking citizenship," the Department of Justice said in a statement.

"Since 2012, there have been only three applications made by Russian nationals under the programme and there are currently no Russian beneficiaries or applications to the scheme."

Although Ireland may not have had many IPP applications by Russian citizens, other countries have approved thousands of "golden visas".

Between 2008 and 2020, Britain issued 2,581 to Russian citizens.

Oligarchs can buy "golden visas" for as little as €127,000 in Bulgaria to as much as €1.2 million in the Netherlands.

Spain, which supplies passports for a minimum payment of €500,000, granted 14 golden visas to Russians in January. Cyprus’ government terminated its much-criticised golden visa scheme in 2020.

In February, Britain axed its Tier 1 Investor visa scheme, which allowed fast-track residence status in return for £2 million (€2.3 million).

“I have zero tolerance for abuse of our immigration system,” Priti Patel, British home secretary, said.

Patel described “corrupt elites who threaten our national security and push dirty money around our cities.”

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