Governments are hunting wealthy investors to help keep their economic momentum going by dangling the carrot of citizenship or residency.
These mobile and wealthy investors have governments wooing them and laying out the welcome mats in return for some cash.
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Residency and visa specialists Henley & Partners have reviewed the pay-for-residency schemes worldwide and come up with a list of the top 10 countries offering favours in return for investment.
Here are the top 10 countries
- United States
- United Kingdom
The highest uptake of wealthy investors seeking to move to a new home comes from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), according to the firm.
UAE comings and goings
Around a third of applicants looking to move to Malta originated from the MENA region.
The top place for economic migrants to leave is the United Arab Emirates, which also comes 15th on the list of most popular countries to move to.
Governments around the world offer 19 residence programs to high net worth individuals.
The firm ranked countries on a number of factors, including reputation, quality of life, tax, visa free access, processing time and quality of processing, compliance, investment requirements, total costs to move, time to citizenship and citizenship requirements.
Henley & Partners have published a detailed 130 page guide ‘Global Residence and Citizenship Programs 2015’ highlighting each nation’s score and investment requirements.
Permanent Residency Visa for the UK
The growth in demand for permanent residency in the UK has been huge. Options such as the Tier 1 Investor Visa and the Start Up Visa have all been applied for heavily.
Billion dollar industry
Portugal scored highly to top the rankings because the level of investment needed to meet the golden residence permit program is significantly lower than asked by other governments.
The country also topped tables for light tax burdens on expats and fast visa processing times.
Eric Major, the firm’s chief executive, said: “Expat residence and citizenship planning has blossomed into a multi-billion dollar industry over the years. Governments are competing hard to cherry pick the best investors as citizens and this is the first real effort to compare the schemes.
“Our aim is to make this an annual report so wealthy individuals have a real choice over their visa and residency options.
“They can make relevant decisions about their finances and lifestyle with the information provided in the report.”