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Returning emigrants could avail of help to buy scheme to get on property ladder

Returning emigrants will soon be able to avail of a help to buy scheme to get on the property ladder, according to a new report.

The study, prepared by Indecon and commissioned by the Department of Foreign Affairs, contains 33 recommendations that look at ways to encourage people to return to Ireland.

Currently, only people who have been working here for the past four years are entitled to claim back their income tax when they buy a new house.

Minister for the Diaspora Ciaran Cannon explained how the scheme would work for returning emigrants, outlining that it would apply to an individual's last four years of employment in Ireland.

"If you left Ireland four years ago, but had worked for the previous four years, you could then claim back that tax as part of the help to buy scheme," he said.

Mr Cannon also said that returning emigrants should soon find it easier to get driving licences, access social welfare payments and buy houses.

Around 500 people are returning every week but often face long waits for driving tests and benefits.

Mr Cannon said it's about making the same supports available for everyone, and made it clear that none of the recommendations in the report would confer additional entitlements upon the returning emigrants over and above those already living in the country.