Download the PDF version of our guide “A Smart Move: Relocation to Ireland in a Post Brexit Economy” – click here.
The unexpected outcome of the Brexit referendum in the UK prompted a swift reappraisal of corporate relationships across Europe. Multinationals were forced to consider the impact of the vote upon their operations both inside and outside the UK. National governments also sought to assess the extent to which they might be exposed to some of the fallout from the decision and carefully considered their next steps. Companies across the UK faced a very difficult and fundamental problem. As of the date of leaving the EU, they would no longer have access to the single market.
The single market has brought growth and diversity to the British business environment since 1973. Any UK firm that trades with Europe will find their business model fundamentally changed.
As of autumn 2017, the degree to which the new post-EU UK will have access to the single market remains floating and unresolved. However, it is quite likely that domestic UK firms will be rendered isolated and excluded and the City of London’s position as key global hub for financial services will be permanently affected. It is not possible for multinationals or domestic companies in the UK to maintain profitability and efficiency if isolated from the single market. So for those businesses, the critical challenge is how to preserve access once the UK leaves the EU. Relocation to other European countries to maintain access has, and will, occur in the coming years and will serve as a practical solution for many.
Europe wide locations are under consideration by UK and multinational businesses for relocation – Ireland consistently presents an impressive array of qualities:
Ireland is an attractive location to many domestic UK or international firms but financial services companies in particular may be looking for a positive and practical solution to the Brexit problem:
Regardless of the particular industry seeking to invest in Ireland, relocating firms can expect to benefit from a pro-business environment:
Ireland represents a smart and economically sensible move for medium or large sized UK businesses to preserve their access to the single market and the euro. Ireland offers UK companies:
When considering whether or not to invest in Ireland, there are a variety of practical issues that our specialist commercial solicitors and investment experts can help you with. Below we provide an overview of some key questions our clients seek advice on:
In order to do business in Ireland, you must be granted ‘business permission’ by the Irish Government. It should be noted, however, that this permission only applies to individuals who are from outside the European Economic Area (EEA). If you are based outside the EEA, there are certain criteria that your investment or business must meet before you will be granted ‘business permission’:
Ireland offers a variety of programmes that are designed specifically for individuals looking to set up in Ireland. There are a variety of different schemes available:
This programme applies to non-Irish nationals who have an innovative business proposal for a ‘high-potential start-up’, with a minimum approved funding of €50,000. Qualifying persons can be given residency in Ireland in order to develop their business. There is no requirement that the business meet particular job creation targets, reflecting the fact that many business will take time to be built up.
In order for your business to be deemed as a ‘high potential start-up’, it must:
This scheme is available to non-EEA individuals and their families who pledge themselves to an ‘approved investment’ in Ireland. It allows individual investors and their immediate family to enter Ireland and to remain here, initially, for up to 5 years, renewable thereafter.
In order to be approved under this programme, an investment must be good for Ireland, for jobs and in the public interest. Furthermore, the funds of an investment must have been legally acquired and owned by the investor. If you have borrowed funds to make the investment, you will not qualify for this programme.
To qualify for approval under this programme, your investment must fall into one of the following categories:
The environment in Ireland has been specifically designed to encourage foreign investment, and this extends to employment permits and the rules that govern them. Depending on who you will need to be present in Ireland, and for what purpose, there are a variety of employment schemes that are available to you:
If you need to bring key personnel into Ireland to assist in the development of your business, the Intra-Company Transfer Permit could be useful. The main advantage of this particular permit is that it allows for the temporary placement of senior members of staff in the Irish business, while allowing them to remain on the payroll of the parent company. The temporary nature brings flexibility in that it allows for foreign investors to test the environment and make an informed decision on whether or not to put further resources into the business. In order to qualify for this permit, the following criteria need to be satisfied:
Please note that if the spouse, partner or any dependants of the holder of an Intra- Company Transfer Permit plan on coming to Ireland, they will need to apply for a separate employment permit.
This is a particular kind of employment permit that is geared towards encouraging individuals with advanced skills to enter the Irish labour market, and ultimately to take up permanent residence. This is sometimes known as the ‘Ireland Green Card’. In order for your employees to be eligible for this particular permit, you as the prospective employer must:
The list of occupations that are deemed important to the Irish economy is available here. Please note that the list of approved occupations changes periodically, but currently includes:
It is also a condition for the Critical Skills Employment Permit that the job offer you provide is for a position for 2 years or more.
These employment permits are different from Critical Skills Employment Permits in that all occupations will be eligible to apply unless they are excluded as Ineligible Employments. The list of Ineligible Employments is available here and currently includes:
A General Employment Permit can be granted for an initial period of two years, after which it can be renewed for a maximum of three years. After five years have passed, the individual concerned will be able to apply to the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service to explore other, more permanent options for residency in Ireland. It is important to understand that employees that are seeking naturalisation must satisfy stringent criteria before their application will be approved.
The Irish Government operates a number of Employer Incentive Schemes to encourage employers, including foreign investor businesses, to employ their staff from the local population:
This particular scheme was created to persuade employers to employ individuals who have been registered unemployed for significant periods of time. Foreign investor businesses have found this scheme to be particularly attractive. To qualify for the scheme, your business must:
If your business meets the criteria listed above, and employs someone under this scheme, you will be given one of two regular payments from the Department of Social Protection:
Private limited companies incorporated in Ireland tend to be the most common commercial entities foreign investors utilise. Certain criteria need to be satisfied:
You may decide that you do not want to incorporate a private limited company in Ireland to facilitate your investment. The alternative is to make use of a company incorporated outside of Ireland, and operate in Ireland via a branch office. A branch office, in Irish law, is a branch of a foreign company that operates in Ireland and:
As a result of changes in EU law, domestic companies and branch offices of foreign companies must now satisfy largely similar registration requirements.
It is important to be aware that the legal regime under which companies operate in Ireland will undergo significant reform, following the introduction of the Companies Act 2014, which came into force on 1 June 2015. This new regime enhances the benefits of investing in Ireland, such as introducing the new simplified corporate vehicle of private company limited by shares.
Foreign investor businesses have the option of owning real estate in Ireland, if it proves to be a more attractive proposition than securing a commercial lease. Real estate can be owned either through the purchase of the freehold interest, or of a long leasehold interest. All businesses in Ireland are subject to certain restrictions on the purchase, development and occupation of real estate.
An alternative to purchasing real estate in Ireland would be to secure a commercial lease. The duration of commercial leases tend to range between five and twenty years. Recent legislative reform has brought greater flexibility to would-be occupiers of real estate.
Commercial leases commonly include break clauses, facilitating an exit from the agreement if you no longer deem it viable to operate your business from the premises. Other points to note regarding commercial leases include:
For many years Ireland has been focused on developing a business culture that protects businesses, and encourages investment and innovation. The intellectual property (IP) regime in Ireland has been specifically formulated to provide robust protection for businesses:
Copyright laws provide protection against infringement of a variety of works including original databases, literary, dramatic or artistic works, film and television programming.
There is no registration requirement for your business to enjoy copyright protection: the moment a particular work is created, copyright will exist. The duration of the copyright will however depend on the type of work in question.
Both designs and trademarks are protected where the necessary statutory criteria are satisfied. In addition to this protection, trademarks also benefit under common law. Registration may be achieved under the Irish, European or international registration frameworks.
Irish patent legislation is in keeping with comparator states. Where the requisite criteria are satisfied, patents can last for 20 years. It is possible to apply for shorter patent protection, allowing for some savings to be made by the business.
Ireland has a strong reputation for data protection. There is also a dedicated Data Protection Commission charged with overseeing the enforcement of data protection laws, designed to protect the data that is used by businesses.
At Sherwin O’Riordan, we have a dedicated foreign investment team of solicitors that have specialist expertise in assisting businesses to relocate to Ireland. We regularly provide advice on how to establish a foothold in the country, which can be achieved through the registration of domestic companies or the operation of branch offices. We are also experienced in providing advice on seeking beneficial tax relief for investors.
We take a comprehensive view that takes into account all the specific needs of our clients. As a full service law firm, we are regularly instructed to provide legal advice in respect of building a client’s workforce, including ensuring compliance with employment laws and enforcing intellectual property interests.
Ireland ranks among the most competitive states in the world for businesses, alongside America, Japan and the UK. If you have questions about doing business in Ireland and want to speak to a lawyer that will provide you with bespoke, comprehensive legal advice, contact us today.
Here are some of the companies we have worked for and what we did for them:
If you are considering relocating your business or setting up a branch in Ireland in order to preserve access to the single market, contact Sherwin O’Riordan for an immediate response. Expert advice will be provided from one of our foreign investment team of solicitors. A detailed assessment of the nature of your business will form part of our comprehensive approach to setting up your business to take advantage of the many positive features on offer in Ireland. Our wide range of expertise encompasses regulatory requirements, company registrations, taxation advice, employment concerns and intellectual property law. Contact us today to discuss your next steps.
You can also download this guide “A Smart Move: Relocation to Ireland in a Post Brexit Economy” in pdf format – click here to download.
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