(Bloomberg) -- Ireland will close its so-called “golden visa” program, dominated by wealthy applicants from China, following a review of its “appropriateness.”
Applications for the visas, introduced by the Irish government in 2012 for non-EU nationals with a personal wealth of at least €2 million ($2.1 million), will no longer be accepted After Feb. 15, the Department of Justice said on Tuesday in a statement..
“It is important that we keep all programs under review including any implications for wider public policy, such as the continuing appropriateness and suitability of this program for cultural, social and economic use,” Justice Minister Simon Harris said.
The Immigrant Investor Program was set up as a pathway for non-EEA nationals to secure immigration permission on the basis of long-term investment in a range of options. Since its inception the program has approved about €1.25 billion in investment, according to the government.
It’s been dominated by Chinese nationals, who accounted for some 1,458 of the 1,547 applications approved through June 23, according to data provided to parliament last year by the government. That dominance led to justice department officials recommending last year that new applications should be stopped temporarily, the Irish Times reported.
Current applications will continue to be considered, the government said. There are approximately 1,500 cases currently awaiting a decision.
Ireland’s decision to scrap the program comes a year after the neighboring UK canceled its own “golden visa” plan, which gave the right to live in the UK to those who invested £2 million ($2.4 million), and was also popular with Chinese investors, as well as Russians.
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