To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the steps he has taken to ensure that funds under the immigrant investor programme are fully drawn down and verified before visas are granted; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
I take it that the Deputy's reference to visas refers to a permission to reside in Ireland rather than a permission to travel to Ireland. A visa would normally be placed in a person's passport by an Irish consular official outside the State to allow that person to travel to Ireland for a stated purpose. It may be necessary to issue a visa to a potential investor prior to the completion of the investment in order that the person travel to Ireland to complete the legal and other requirements of the investment and to register for permission to reside here.
However, as of 1 January 2019 my Department introduced new control measures to allow for the verification of the investment prior to the granting of a residence permission. A successful applicant is now invited to make their investment and on completion of this process and on the provision of evidence of the investment they will be granted a residence permission. An applicant is given 90 days in which to complete their investment. Failure to do so will result in the application being deemed withdrawn.
Prior to 2019 the applicant was required to provide this evidence when they were registering for their permission to reside. They had to provide a letter from their legal representative confirming the investment was made, a letter from the beneficiary stating that they had received the investment and documentary evidence based on the investment type e.g. a share certificate from the investment fund confirming the investment.
To ask the Minister for Justice and Equality the progress of the gambling control Bill; the stage it is now at; when the Bill will be enacted; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The Government has indicated on a number of occasions that it recognises the need to proceed with comprehensive reform of our outdated gambling licensing and regulation.
On 10 January, 2018, the Government approved the updating of the 2013 General Scheme of the Gambling Control Bill. The proposed updating follows on from the review work undertaken in the Department of Justice and Equality and from the consultations held with interested stakeholders. The Government also approved the concept of the establishment of a new gambling regulatory authority as an independent statutory body operating under the auspices of the Department of Justice and Equality.
The proposals in the General Scheme were reviewed by the Inter-Departmental Working Group on the Future Licensing and Regulation of Gambling. The Group's Report was approved and published by the Government on 20 March 2019. The Report contained a number of significant recommendations concerning all aspects of gambling activity. In particular, it recommended that future responsibility for licensing and regulation of all forms of gambling, including online gambling, rest with a proposed new gambling regulatory authority.
I hosted a major seminar on the future licensing and regulation of gambling at Farmleigh House on 15 May 2019, bringing together a large number of interested and concerned stakeholders to discuss the Report of the Working Group and further developments.
Work on revising the revised General Scheme of the Gambling Control Bill is underway in my Department. This is a complex area and we must be certain that any reforms will be achievable and effective. At the time of publication of the Working Group Report, An Taoiseach indicated that work on revising legislation, taking account of the Working Group’s recommendations, would likely take a period of about 18 months to bring to completion.
Separately, I have brought forward the Gaming and Lotteries (Amendment) Bill 2019, an interim reform measure to amend the 1956 Gaming and Lotteries Act. I hope that Report Stage of the Bill can be scheduled in the House as soon as possible.
All Parlamientary Questions I make and their answers can be viewed in this section