Rasheed Alkhanji QICMS
Published 12:35 PM 30 September 2021
Updated 01:51 PM 21 December 2021
With the geopolitical climate constantly shifting in the Middle East, Residency by Investment (or golden visa) markets have gained a strong footing among high net worth individuals (HNWIs) seeking locations that offer a better quality of life. Whether it’s a destination with sunny weather or a country with top-quality healthcare, foreign nationals are choosing safe locations for themselves, their family, and wealth.
There are many factors to consider when choosing invest in a second residency (Golden visa) abroad, and it may not always depend on trending property markets at the time. Choosing where to purchase property has to be practical, and features such as ease of access, social benefits, and even similarities in culture play an important role in the decision-making process.
More importantly, the first question to ask is why you want to invest in a second residency: is it for greater travel freedom, better educational opportunities, or for personal safety? Whatever the reason may be, it will help answer where you want to live, and why many foreign nationals often use their primary residence as a measuring stick to where they wish to relocate. After all, everyone wants to feel comfortable as possible in a new environment.
For Middle Eastern residents, choosing the right second residency can prove to be a tricky process, but certainly not impossible. From Canada and United States to Europe and United Kingdome, Residency by Investment Programs have found an eager audience with Middle Eastern citizens seeking immigration solutions for themselves and their families—but how do you choose the right secondary residency market?
YOUR PRIMARY RESIDENCE OR COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
As previously mentioned, choosing a second residency market often depends on where a person currently lives. At QICMS, many of our clients are from the MENA and GCC regions, including Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen. If you live in Jordan, for example, chances are you will want to find a location with a built-in community that shares the same (or similar) language and values. For Middle Eastern nationals, Canada has become the go-to second residency choice. As an exemplary country with a multi-cultural population, quality healthcare and education, newcomers are made to feel welcome not only as immigrants but for the skills and innovation they bring to Canada’s workforce and economy.
Similarly, European “Golden Visa” countries are rising in prominence for Middle Eastern nationals due to their diverse cities, strong economies, and added benefits as members of the European Union (EU). In countries such as Malta, factors like the Maltese language (a descendant of Arabic-speaking peoples), cuisine, religion, and friendly culture might appeal more to residents from the Middle East than Spain or Bulgaria.
WEIGHING OUT COST AND BENEFITS
Another one of the most important factors driving the decision-making process is cost, which must be weighed against benefits offered. Canada offers the startup visa program. As opposed to other immigration programs for Canada, Start-up Visa Program has no quota system limiting the intake of new applications until now. The Start-up Visa Program aims to attract foreign Entrepreneurs and give them permanent residence in Canada in 12-18 month if they are willing to start a business.
The Basic Program and the Regional Center Pilot Program are two unique EB-5 avenues for immigrant investors to obtain lawful permanent residence in the United States for themselves and their immediate family. Both programs require the immigrant to make a USD $500,000 or USD $1,000,000 capital investment in a new commercial venture in the United States (depending on whether the investment is in a Targeted Employment Area [TEA] or not). According to the law, TEA is defined as “a rural region or a region where unemployment is at least 150 percent of the national average.”
The Innovator visa category is for individuals who are experienced business people seeking to establish a business in the UK. In most cases you will need to have access to at least GBP 50,000 to invest in your business (or have already invested GBP 50,000 in your business), but certain exceptions apply. You will also need to have an innovative, viable and scalable business idea which is approved and supported by an endorsing body.
Innovator visas are valid for 3 years and can lead directly to indefinite leave to remain in the UK at the end of this period. Innovator visa applicants can bring their spouse and any children under the age of 18 to the UK.
Also, there is another category, which is worth consideration by individuals seeking to relocate to the UK to set up a business: the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business visa category. There are some requirements of this category that will mean that it is not open to everyone, but for many individuals it will provide an alternative route to open a business in the UK, while the Innovator route gets up and running.
The top 3 cheapest golden visas are even more attractive as governments slash the money expats must pay for their new travel status. So if your priority is grasping the fastest and cheapest golden visa, these are the three European golden visas with the lowest investment requirements. With European Golden Visa Programs, investors can purchase property for as little as EUR 250,000 in Greece, whereas Portugal offers a dream home and a laid back lifestyle for expats willing to take the plunge and make an investment to get Portugal citizenship potentially. Portugal golden visa requires a minimum investment of EUR 280,000, EUR 350,000 or EUR 500,000 depending on location. In Cyprus, investors can acquire a second residency for a minimum of EUR 300,000.
So how do you choose? For starters, benefits offered by Residency by Investment Programs (Golden visa programs) should be weighed against overall cost. While each Golden Visa Program affords access to the EU, healthcare and social services, not all programs grant the same benefits. This might include dependents that can be included in an application, eligibility to work, or the ability to apply for citizenship after a certain period of residency.
Finally, purchasing a property in the United States, Canada or United Kingdome will not give the investors residency. Many countries worldwide offer residency and even citizenship through buying properties, and surely, the United states , Canada or united Kingdome are not one of these countries.
Anyone exploring Residency by Investment (second residency) opportunities must evaluate each country based upon their personal circumstances. Determining why you wish to relocate will ease the process of deciding where you should invest in a second residency, whether in Canada or Europe and beyond.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen quite a few countries suspend or change their golden visa rules – particularly some European Union states with less than stellar economies. One of the challenges when choosing between citizenship and residency by investment is separating the top deals as each golden visa with different costs and application rules.
As a company located in the MENA region, our team of immigration professionals is experienced in assisting Middle Eastern nationals with their immigration needs. If you are looking for a second residency or second citizenship, we are here to answer any questions you may have or help you take the first step towards a better future. Contact our office today to begin your journey.
For more information on Canadian Residency by Investment Programs, please click here.
For more information on Malta’s Residence and Visa Program (MRVP), please click here.
To compare European Golden Visa Residency Programs, please click here.
To view our Citizenship and Residency Programs by Investment in Real Estate comparison table, please click here.
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