Ireland sees notable increase in business-based immigrants

New figures show that, over the past 12 months, Ireland has experienced a sharp increase in the number of non-EU business migrants looking to settle in the country.

According to recently released report published by the country’s Social and Economic Research Institute (ESRI), since 2010 the number of business-based visas granted to overseas national has increased by 15 per cent.

The ESRI report states that the introduction of new programmes aimed at attracting migrant investors and entrepreneurs has led to increased flexibility in the immigration system and helped boost the numbers.

The latest figures show that business-related visas accounted for 17 per cent of the 90,400 resident visas granted last year, while the number of visas granted to overseas workers is up from 13,365 in 2010 to just over 15,400 in 2014.

India, China and Russia are the top three source countries for Ireland-bound business immigrants.

According to the report, 55 visas have been granted through the country’s Immigrant Investor Programme since 2012. This programme allows approved investors and their immediate family to enter Ireland on multi-entry visas and remain in the country for up to five years in return for an investment of between 500,000 and 2 million euros.

The Start-up Entrepreneur Programme (STEP), meanwhile, granted 30 visas in the same period. The programme, which targets high-potential start-ups, grants successful applicants and their nominated family members’ residence for up to five years in return for a detailed proposal for an innovative business idea and funding of at least 75,000 euros.

While these numbers may not seem significantly high, given the high net-worth investment involved, they have provided a welcome economic boost for Ireland’s growing economy.