Posted by Oliver Meredew on March 14th, 2018.
Moving to a new country can be a wonderful experience, but making the initial journey isn’t always that easy.
Emigrating can be fraught with obstacles, but if you have your heart set on a move abroad and are open to options, there are countries that have easier entry conditions than others.
In this article, we’ll be taking a look at some of the easiest countries to emigrate to, as well as what makes them so appealing to expats.
Starting off the list with an enduringly popular country that you could emigrate to, Canada is a solid choice for the potential expat.
While the United States may be perceived as having a larger expat population, Canada is hot on its heels.
If you were planning to move to Canada for work then the process can be especially easy given that the country operates an ‘Express Entry’ work programme to fast-track skilled employees into permanent residence.
Canada is so on-board with immigration that it’s estimated the country would actually suffer from a falling population without a stream of new residents.
Along with its open-door policy and welcoming attitude, Canada is also a good location for UK expats as (with the exception of Quebec) most of the country speaks English.
Heading south and to a new continent, Central and South America are practically bursting with countries that offer easy entry to potential residents from overseas.
First up is a somewhat obscure entry, Paraguay.
Costs of living are relatively low and the cost of moving to Paraguay for residence is also relatively affordable, requiring a deposit in a Paraguayan bank of around $5,500 (roughly £4,000).
There is a minimum three-month wait before a residence permit can be granted, but this can also be considered fairly speedy on a comparative basis (US visa approvals are notorious for taking months to process).
The usual channels need to be followed, such as having a clean bill of health and proof of a sustainable form of income, but compared to some of the world’s more restrictive immigration policies, Paraguay’s can be considered a welcome change.
Another easy-to-move-to South American entry is located on the snaking land bridge between North America and South America – Panama.
While the country has earned a certain amount of infamy as a tax haven, it has plenty to offer to ‘legitimate’ residents, with competitive living costs and a well-developed economy.
Probably the most well-known way of moving to Panama for residence is the Pensionado visa, which is effectively the retiree route.
Requirements are a $1,000 permanent monthly income and being over the age of 18, so in effect one can ‘retire’ in Panama without being anywhere near the 60-year age range.
For those with business nous up their sleeves, another popular option is acquiring a Friendly Nations Visa, which grants a fast-track to residency provided the applicant has business plans and comes from a select list of countries (which includes the United Kingdom).
The ‘Costa del Sol’ may be a prime destination for UK retirees in Europe, but retiring to Costa Rica can be just as desirable for the potential emigrant to Latin America.
As with Panama, proving self-sufficiency with your own funds can enable an easy transition to permanent residency in the country.
While costs are low compared to highly-developed nations like the US and UK, compared to its neighbours Costa Rica does have slightly higher prices on average.
There are plenty of beaches to lounge on and jungles to explore in Costa Rica, and compared to neighbouring nations, the country is relatively peaceful to boot.
Moving from the UK to EU countries was previously a breeze thanks to free travel, but in the wake of Brexit it isn’t so clear which countries will stay so open to expats from the United Kingdom.
At present, some of the most approachable nations (which may remain open after Brexit) include Belgium and Malta.
Asides from its chocolates, Belgium’s charms include a relatively straightforward path to permanent residency, wherein after five years living in the country you can stay permanently.
This rule is the same for EU and non-EU citizens, so there isn’t much concern about Brexit having an impact here.
The five years counter isn’t as solid as it seems, as potential residents are allowed to leave the country, just not for a continuous period of more than six months (or one year in total during the residency period).
For those looking to swap life on one island nation for another, a move to Malta may be an agreeable option.
English is widely spoken on the Maltese islands and apart from the financial requirements, there are few barriers to entrants – so much so that Malta’s residency conditions may actually remain little changed for UK citizens after Brexit.
While it may not be known for its generally low cost of living, getting settled in Singapore isn’t too much of a hassle for a potential expat.
The country has a long history of welcoming visitors from neighbouring countries and further afield, evidenced by the fact that there are four official languages.
It’s important to note that while retirement is a viable option when moving to some of the South American countries on this list, being work-focused is key when considering emigrating to Singapore. To that end, the Ministry of Manpower (MoM) has a range of work passes available for potential residents.
Business deals and international trade are a key part of Singaporean life and although the unemployment rate has been less than 3% for under a decade, there are still opportunities to be found in the island nation.
That concludes our look at the easiest countries in the world to emigrate to, but if you’re on the fence about a move overseas, there is a convenient option to allow you to properly make up your mind.
Apart from the conventional route of taking holiday to ‘trial’ living in a new country, you can also look into temporary visa options. If a visa is required to enter a country, there are versions that only last for three months, for example.
These ‘tourist visas’ can be used to provide a more accurate picture of living in the country compared to a brief holiday, and in some cases are completely free.
Whatever your plans for emigration or a trip overseas, we’re here to help with your currency transfers. Take a look at the different transfer options available and please get in touch if you’d like more information.
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