123. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the number of start-up entrepreneur applications received in each of the years 2015 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the number approved by year; and the number rejected by year. [8646/19]

124. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if an applicant under the start-up entrepreneur programme is required to demonstrate a minimum level of assets in addition to the sum to be invested in the start-up; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8647/19]


Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I propose to take Questions Nos. 123 and 124 together.
The Start-up Entrepreneur Programme (STEP) was established in 2012 as a way for entrepreneurs with an innovative idea to apply for a residence permission in Ireland.
At present applicants are required to provide evidence that they have €50,000 funding available to help them build and grow their proposed enterprise. There is no separate asset threshold that applicants must meet in order to qualify for the programme. Rather, the focus is on the nature of the proposal and its future potential to lead to substantial job growth / generation of economic activity in the State.
The following table provides a breakdown of total applications, approved applications, and refused applications for the years 2015 - 2018.

Year Total Applications Total Approvals Total Refusals
2015 49 25 24
2016 134 33 101
2017 171 23 148
2018 35 12 23
Total 389 93 296

In general, the refusals occur as a result of the proposed enterprises not being in the innovation economy and therefore not meeting the published criteria of the programme.
The Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service (INIS) of my Department is in the process of updating the STEP for 2019 and accordingly, there have been no applications accepted for 2019 to date. However, the INIS website will be updated in the coming weeks with details for 2019 and all prospective applicants should refer to the website for further details.