By: Matthew Ross
July 4 2023
The policy aims to encourage the revitalization of coastal island communities in Ireland but does not facilitate immigration to the country.
An article by the UK-based Unity News Network headlined, "Indians offered financial incentives of up to 100k Euros to move to Republic of Ireland'' is being shared on social media. The article highlights recent anti-migrant protests in Ireland before claiming, "Now the Times of India is reporting that Indians will be offered cash incentives to move to the country to fill the 'skills shortage.'" Following this is the complete text of an article from the Times of India, headlined "Indians, bored of your own old and boring houses, then it's time to move to Ireland!" The Unity News Network article implies that the Irish government is paying Indians to move to Ireland despite anti-immigrant protests.
The Times of India article from June 17, 2023, is one of many recent articles in various international outlets referencing the Irish government's recent announcement of the Our Living Islands policy. The first strategy document of its kind in 27 years, the policy is meant to revitalize offshore islands in various ways. Still, most media attention has been focused on grant money for refurbishing vacant and derelict houses on the islands. Headlines on the subject often frame the policy as an opportunity to "get paid" by the Irish government to move to these beautiful but remote islands.
Most of these articles mention caveats to the grant money: an applicant must purchase a property and put the money toward renovation. This is part of a much broader set of policies designed to improve life on the coastal islands. However, this policy is entirely separate from Ireland's immigration rules; foreigners wishing to access this opportunity must have the right to live in Ireland first. Of the ten similar articles reviewed by Logically Facts, dating from June 13 to June 27, 2023, only one written by Maureen O'Hare for CNN is explicit that "[w]ould-be islanders should be aware that while there are no restrictions on who can buy property in Ireland, owning a place doesn't guarantee you the right to live there." The Times of India piece mentions that Ireland has a visa program for skilled workers and references tax incentives. Logically Facts has contacted the Irish Department of Justice and Equality and the Department of Finance for comment.
The Department of Rural and Community Development told Logically Facts that both the Unity News Network and Times of India articles were misleading. According to a department spokesperson, "It is not the case that people will be paid to relocate to islands off the coast of Ireland" due to this policy. The Our Living Islands information page on the department's website has a link to a Frequently Asked Questions PDF stating that standard rules around residency apply to anyone seeking to avail of this policy.
The Irish government is not paying foreigners to move to Irish coastal islands. The Our Living Islands policy concerns support for coastal island communities, including offering grant money for refurbishing vacant or derelict properties. While increasing the population is a policy goal, foreigners interested in buying properties and accessing the grant money must follow existing immigration laws to qualify.