Ireland might bring in citizenship by investment

The recent decision by the UK to leave the EU gives it the opportunity to make major reductions in its Corporation Tax.  It could cause problems for Ireland if the UK were to match its 12.5%, and even more if it were to lower it as the ASI has recommended, first to 6.25% and then to zero.  Investment that presently goes to Ireland might head for the UK instead.

Ireland could counter this by introducing citizenship by investment, as several other countries do. Presently Irish citizenship is only available to those with an Irish grandparent, or to those with a 5-year residency qualification, or 3 years with an Irish spouse or civil partner.  Residency with the intention to remain resident is also required.

Ireland could extend this by offering fast-track citizenship to those prepared to invest substantial sums in the Irish economy, or to create a significant number of Irish Jobs.  By doing so, Ireland would be emulating several countries worldwide which offer citizenship in return for investment.

The US awards 10,000 green cards annually (designated EB-5) to those who invest $1m, or $0.5m in a designated area of high unemployment, and who create at least 10 US jobs.  Several EU members have similar schemes.  Among the most accessible are Malta and Cyprus.  Malta offers 1,800 visas annually to those who invest €1.15m (of which €350,000 must be in property and €150,000 in government bonds), with a requirement to be at least a part-time resident.  An EU passport can be issued with a year.  Cyprus requires an investment of €2.5m and can fast-track a passport inside 3 months.

Other EU countries that do this include Austria and Bulgaria.  Worldwide one of the most successful second passports is offered by St Kitts and Nevis.  Those who contribute $295,000 to help their industry diversify from sugar, or who invest $500,000 in property, can secure a passport without any residency requirement.

The Maltese, Cypriot, Austrian and Bulgarian options all offer EU passports allowing free movement to live and work anywhere in the EU, and an Irish passport would do the same.  This would make it an attractive option, especially given that English is its main language.

While the Adam Smith Institute, unlike the European Union, does not make a habit of intruding on the sovereignty of independent nations, it does suggest that the government of Ireland might at least investigate the possibility of instituting a citizenship by investment programme.  It would create investment and employment to counter-balance any problems caused by the UK's new-found ability to make itself more attractive