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How to choose a country for relocation: Top 8 immigration destinations

PUBLISHED: 15 May 2020

Fortunately, there is a wide choice of countries in the world with high standards of technological development, education and healthcare. If you are considering one of them for immigration, this article is for you.

Start by checking immigration laws of the chosen country, because not all of them are welcoming foreigners as eagerly as others and impose restrictions on immigration. You will find it challenging to relocate to such countries and regions as Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway and Sweden), France and Netherlands, as well as Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

Besides, to become a full member of the society, you would need to target permanent residence status and not just a residence permit.

Why do you need permanent residence?

A residence permit in most cases means a long-term visa that gives you the right to stay in a country for a long time and do what that visa allows you to do. And this time is limited. Permanent residence is an immigration status that speaks for itself; permanent residents are allowed to stay in the country indefinitely, with almost the same rights as citizens.

Permanent residence status in some countries is subject to extension, in others is given without expiry date. Permanent residence is one step away from naturalisation and second passport. However, some migrants choose never to make that step, especially id by doing so they would lose their first nationality. You can learn more about temporary residence permit, permanent residence and dual citizenship in this article.

Going back to the main question in the heading. Which country to choose for immigration? Where is the safest and most stable? Which country offers best business environment? Where can you invest to get permanent residence easier and faster?

Как выбрать страну для переезда на ПМЖ?

Criteria for choosing a country for immigration

The choice of where you are going to relocate to and live permanently depends on your needs and ambitions. You might be seeking to do business without pressure from authorities or give your children an excellent education in world-class universities, or to live in a safe and stable environment with beneficial taxation.

An important factor to keep in mind is how easy it is to relocate to a new place. For this, you might want to consider one of the countries that operate government residence by investment (Golden Visa) and citizenship by investment programs.

How to get residence/citizenship by investment?

Each country offers different terms and requirements, but there are two investment options that are common across all programs.

Investment in business

You must invest money into a real business by buying shares of an existing company or opening your own firm and creating jobs for permanent residents.

Investment in real estate

You must purchase residential or commercial property or properties or invest in approved development projects.

Which countries are investor-friendly?

There are several jurisdictions in Europe that have relaxed requirements to foreign investors by law. They include Malta, Portugal, Spain, Belgium, Latvia, Greece and Cyprus.

You will find it harder to get permanent residence in Austria, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, but pluses of these jurisdictions overweigh the hardship of immigrating there.

If you are not put off by larger distances, have a look at Canada or former British colonies in the Caribbean, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, where governments welcome foreign investors.

Ratings of countries

Global rankings were developed in order to score countries against a number of attributes such as quality of life, entrepreneurship and safety. It does not mean you should rely on them blindly, but they can help you get a general idea of a situation in a country. Here is one example.

Where is safest to live?

One of the country ratings is Global Peace Index that determines most peaceful countries in the world. Though this index is often criticised by scientists, it does reflect true state of things; top countries demonstrate low crime rate, good neighbour relationships and political stability.

Iceland has been at the very top since 2008. In 2019 ranking, it is followed by New Zealand and Portugal. Canada came 6th and Switzerland 11th.

Portugal has one of the lowest crime rates in Europe. You can get a residence permit there by investing at least €250,000. Portugal Golden Visa gives the right to live, work and study in the country. You can apply for permanent residence in 5 years of living in Portugal.

Куда переехать из России на ПМЖ?

What is the happiest country in the world?

World Happiness Report is done by American scientists from the Columbia University under the UN auspices. Happiness is a subjective thing; therefore, they evaluate countries against more objective factors such as well-being, life expectancy, confidence in the government, corruption, etc. In 2020, Finland was ranked the happiest country in the world three times in a row. The United Kingdom holds the 13th place leaving Germany and USA behind.

Switzerland came 3rd. It is one of the richest countries in Europe technologically advanced and economically stable. Invest in Switzerland to get a B-type residence permit and apply for permanent residence 10 years after living in the country.

Best countries for businessmen

First identify what type of activities you are going to do and where. If it is an international company operating outside of its incorporation country, consider one of the tax havens. In Europe, it is Malta and Cyprus. There is no corporation tax for profits received outside these jurisdictions. Similar benefits are offered by some Caribbean island states.

If you are after a large market, transparent business environment, tax benefits and government support for small and medium businesses, then ideally you would be looking into opening a company in the United Kingdom.


It is not easy to get a UK business visa. We highly recommend getting in touch with a qualified immigration lawyer. However, it is one of the shortest and most interesting routes to permanent residence, you can apply in 5 years and sometimes even earlier, in 3 years.

Куда переехать из России для ведения бизнеса

Where to move to with a family?

If you value comfort and high living standards you should consider Latvia as your new home. It is a stable country with low living costs, natural beauty and mild climate. It is compact, peaceful and welcoming.

Latvian government launched Latvia Golden Visa program offering a residence permit for a whole family in return for investment of €250,000. You can apply for permanent residence in Latvia 5 years after receiving your permit provided you have lived there for at least 4 years and passed a language test and know Latvian history and traditions.

Pluses and minuses of top 8 immigration destinations

We are limited as to how much information we can give you in a small article. Each one of us has their needs, requirements and budget.

For your convenience we have made a table of countries where you can move to with advantages of each one of them.

Country PlusesImmigration program
PortugalIn top 5 most peaceful countries in the world. Tax benefits for new residents.

Residence by investment after 6 months.

Permanent residence after 5 years of residence.


Advanced economy, high standards of education and healthcare.

Favourablebusiness environment.

Residence by investment within 1 year.

Permanent residence after 5 years of residence.


Visa-free travel to over 160 countries incl. EU.

Tax benefits for international companies.

Residence by investment in 3 weeks after applying.

EU passport for an investor in 1 year.


Full EU member state.

Favourable taxation for businesses.

European passport by investment in 6 months.

Family-oriented country.

Minimum investment of €250,000 and possibility to return the money.

Golden Visa by investment in 4 months.

Permanent residence after 5 years (4 years you must live in Latvia).


High living standards, advanced economy, flawless banking system.

Ideal solution for a wealthy individual or a highly skilled professional.

Residence permit in 4 months.

Permanent residence in 10 years.

United Kingdom

Investment attractiveness, economic stability, favourable taxation.

Pro-business government.

Permanent residence in 2 to 5 years.

UK passport in 5 to 6 years.

Caribbean countries

Low-cost investment options.

Visa-free travel to EU, UK; special arrangements with the USA.

Tax haven for international business and individuals.

Caribbean citizenship by investment in 4 months without visiting the country, apart from Antigua and Barbuda where you have to go at least once.

Get in touch with our experts for a more detailed consultation and discuss your immigration and business requirements with them. Qualified lawyers at Imperial & Legal offer a comprehensive approach to all your matters from obtaining a visa to opening a company, tax planning, purchasing real estate and managing your business. Many questions – one answer.

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