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The concept of immigration and emigration

  • Migration is the act of relocation with a desire to settle and live permanently in the new place.
  • Immigration is the act of entering a foreign country for permanent residence or for a long time.
  • Emigration is the act of leaving one’s home country to live in another.
  • Immigrant visa is issued to foreigners interested in obtaining permanent resident status in another country.
  • Residence permit allows you to temporarily stay in the country and is issued on the basis of an immigrant visa. It can be extended and eventually replaced with permanent residence.
  • Permanent residence is the right to indefinitely live in a country that an immigrant receives after several years of living in a said country. Sometimes permanent residence can be obtained immediately, it depends on the method and country of immigration.
  • Permanent resident is a holder of a permanent residence permit. Usually has all the rights of a citizen of the country, except for political.
  • Expatriates are people like students or specialists who have left their homeland and temporarily or permanently reside in another country. This is in most cases comes with a loss of citizenship.

The best countries for immigration

CountryVisa feesMaximum cost can exceed the amount multiple timesUnemployment rate[0]Average salary/month[1]Studying/yearminimal cost of bachelor's programsCitizenship afterthe number of years of consecutive stay in order to obtain citizenshipDual citizenshipVisa-free access[2]Immigrants[3]
Germany250 USD3.1%4,151 USDFreein public universities8+ years[4]No18916%
US400 USD3.5%5,258 USD18000+ USD3+ years[5]Yes18413.6%
Canada120 USD5.7%4,071 USD15000+ USD3+ years[6]Yes18320.8 %
Australia426 USD5.2%4,446 USD18000+ USD4+ years[7]Yes18329.6%
New Zealand4%3,527 USD11600+ USD5+ years[8]Yes18325.1%
Spain14.2%3,230 USD735+ USD5+ years[9]No18713.4%
Poland3.2%2,426 USD1300+ USD5+ years[10]Yes1761.8%[11]
Israel4.6%3,137 USD3000+ USD3+ years[12]Yes15921.8%
Norway3.7%4,246 USD108+ USD3+ years[13]Yes18415.4%
Czech Republic2.1%2,247 USDFreeBachelor's programs taught in Czech at State Universities3+ years[14]Yes1837.5%
Finland6.8%3,709 USD4520+ USDEducation in Finnish and Swedish is free,5+ years[15]Yes1876.7%
Italy10%3,146 USD1920+ USD3+ years[16]Yes18810.4%

Stages of immigration

  1. Choosing a country and a method of immigration;
  2. Visa processing based on the immigration method;
  3. Departure to the country and obtaining a residence permit;
  4. Living in the country and obtaining a permanent residence permit;
  5. Obtaining citizenship after a minimum of 3 yearsdepending on the immigration method or more living in the country.

Ways of immigration

  • Education. A student graduates from a university abroad and gets the opportunity to find work and stay in the country;
  • Labor. A professional finds work in the country and remains there;
  • Business immigration. An entrepreneur opens a new business or buys an existing one in the country. An investor can pour funds in the country’s economy. Sometimes immigration for investors requires a separate visa;
  • Marriage. The groom/bride enters the country, marries a citizen/resident of the country and can stay there as a spouse;
  • Family reunification. The next of kin (usually spouses and minor children) of a citizen or resident enter the country with the right of permanent residence;
  • Humanitarian. Refugees or people who are persecuted for political, religious and other reasons, ask for protection from the state and get the opportunity to stay in the country;
  • Special programs. Special categories of people have the right to receive the right to permanent residence in the country or citizenship (for example, returnees).

Student immigration

Main article Student immigration

To immigrate to another country, you can go there to study with a student visa and after graduation attempt to find work and stay there to live. Student visas are given to students of secondary schools, colleges, universities, and vocational schools. After graduation, the student can obtain a work visa for an internship or employment. To get a student visa, you must first apply to an educational institution and receive a confirmation of admission. After obtaining a visa, a student can enter the country and apply for a residence permit.

Work while studying

Many countries allow the students to work while studying, which reduces their living expenses. Often this requires special permission. Students may have restrictions on the number of working hours per week or on the choice of the employer, for example, work only at the university or for businesses located on campus.

Countries for student immigration

Main article Student immigration

CountryExamBachelor’s/yearaverage costMaster’s/yearaverage costOpportunity to workUniversities in the top 1000[17]
GermanyEnglishTOEFL, IELTS, PTE, Cambrige exams / GermanGoethe, Telc, ÖSD, TestDaf, DSH, Deutsches Sprachdiplom KMK3240 USD / Free9330 USD / Free20 hours/week240 days/year part time or 120 days/year full time46
USEnglishTOEFL, IELTS, MELAB, PTE30000 USD25000 USD20 hours/weekOn campus157
CanadaEnglishIELTS, SELPIP, MELAB, Cambridge Exams / FrenchDALF, TEF, DELF, TCF29700 USD17700 USD20 hours/week26
AustraliaEnglishIELTS, OET, TOEFL iBT, PTE, CAE28000 USD28000 USD20 hours/week35
New ZealandEnglishIELTS, OET, TOEFL iBT, PTE, CAE27000 USD31500 USD20 hours/week8
SpainEnglishIELTS, OET, TOEFL iBT, PTE, CAE / SpanishDELE13000 USD4300 USD20 hours/week27
PolandEnglishIELTS, OET, TOEFL iBT, PTE, CAE / PolishCertificate Examinations in Polish as a Foreign Language3240 USD3020 USD20 hours/weekA permit must be obtained16
IsraelEnglishIELTS, OET, TOEFL iBT, PTE, CAE / HebrewВступительный экзамен по ивриту8000 USD4000 USDNo6
NorwayEnglishIELTS, OET, TOEFL iBT, PTE, CAE / NorwegianNorskprøve 108 USD108 USD20 hours/week4
Czech RepublicEnglishIELTS, OET, TOEFL iBT, PTE, CAE / CzechCCE3780 USD / FreeIn Czech at state Universities4530 USD / FreeIn Czech at state Universities20 hours/week9
FinlandEnglishIELTS, OET, TOEFL iBT, PTE, CAE / FinnishYKI-testi / SwedishSWEDEX10800 USD / FreeIn Swedish and Finnish10260 USD / FreeIn Swedish and Finnish25 hours/week9
ItalyEnglishIELTS, OET, TOEFL iBT, PTE, CAE / ItalianCELI, CILS PLIDA4320 USD7560 USD20 hours/week34

Read more about the cost of training in foreign universities.

Labor immigration

To immigrate as an employee, it is necessary not only to find a job in advance and receive an official invitation from the future employer, but also to confirm higher education and/or work experience. When this is done, you can apply for a work visa — it will open the entrance to the country and give the right to obtain a residence permit.

Developed countries, as a rule, encourage labor immigration due to the lack of qualified labor and the desire to collect the best specialists on their labor market. Therefore, they facilitate the conditions of immigration in various ways. For example, in the EU, professionals can get a blue card, which is more convenient for employees4 years with a possibility of long business trips and applying for residence than a regular work visa.

Countries for labor immigration

CountryMin. salary/month[18] A minimum set by the state lawAverage salary/month[19]Tax with a salary of 2,000 USDAn approximation based on tax difference, region/province/state of the country. Includes income tax and other social and medical taxes.Tax with a salary of 8,000 USDAn approximation based on tax difference, region/province/state of the country. Includes income tax and other social and medical taxes.Unemployment[20]
Germany1,768 USD4,151 USD39.875%67.875%[21][22]3.4%
US1,257 USD 5,258 USD29.65–38.60%31.65–40.6%[23][24][25]3.8%
Canada1,560 USD9 USD per hour4,071 USD25.61–47.31%36.61–58.36%[26][27][28]5.6%
Australia2,327 USD4,446 USD32.5%37%[29]5%
New Zealand1,963 USD[30] 17.45 USD per week3,527 USD17.5%33%[31]4.3%
Spain1,013 USD3,230 USD30.85–42.85%Цифры приведены с учётом налоговой ставки для Мадрида (Madrid Comunidad Autónoma)38.35–49.85%? [32][33]15.1%
Poland581 USD2,426 USD45.71%45.71%[34][35]3.9%
Israel1,547 USD [36]3,137 USD17.5%41.5%[37][38]4,2%
NorwayIs only stated for some sectors [39]4,246 USD29.1–32.6%42.1–46.6%[40]3.9%
Czech Republic561 USD2,247 USD26%26%[41][42]2.3%
FinlandIs not determined by the law [43]3,709 USD33.78%–39.78%59.03–65.03%[44][45]7.4%
ItalyIs not determined by the law [46]3,146 USD36.5–40.72%52.5–56.72%[47][48]10.2%

Business immigration

Practically any state needs immigration of businessmen and investors: foreign entrepreneurs and depositors provide capital inflows, create jobs and can make up for the shortage of goods and services in the market. Business immigration requires thorough preparation: you need to study the local market, the conditions for organizing a business, find start-up capital, negotiate with local authorities, prepare a detailed business plan, in other words, the host state must believe in the economic success of the future enterprise. After the candidate has prepared and received the go-ahead from the state in the form of an invitation to apply for a visa, the candidate may proceed with the immigration process. If it is approved, it will only be necessary to enter the country and apply for a residence permit. It is enough for investors to invest a certain amount in government bonds, securities, companies or real estate and keep these investments for the time specified by the legislation of the country. After that, they can apply for a visa (if necessary) and obtain the status of a resident or citizen.

Business tax in different countries

CountryTaxThe rate can incriese depending on the size of the business and regional laws. Below, only fixed and avarage rates are listedCommentary
Germany31.5%Federal rate — 15%, solidarity tax — 5.5%, tax depending on the federal state — 14-17%[49]
USA25.7%Federal rate — 21%, tax depending on the state 3-12% (44 out of 50 states)[50]
Canada37.75%Federal rate 9–38%, provincial rate 11.5-16%[51]
Australia30%Exception (27.5%) for companies with annual revenue of less than 17,821,448 USD[52][53]
New Zealand28%Fixed rate[54]
Spain25%Fixed rate[55]
Poland19%Exception (9%) for start-ups in the first year and for small businesses (income, including VAT, for goods and services less than 1,231,952 USD)[ -][56]
Israel25%Fixed rate[57]
Norway22%Fixed rate[58]
Czech Republic19%Exception for investment (5%), and pension funds[59] (0%)
Finland20%Fixed rate[60]
Italy24%Fixed rate; it may be increased depending on the region (production tax from 3.9%[61])

Marriage immigration

This is the easiest way of immigration, which does not require any knowledge of the language, education or professional experience. The term for obtaining citizenship in marriage immigration is usually shorter than the one for other categories by at least two years. For marriage immigration, you need to get a special visa for the bride/groom — such a visa is needed to enter the country and marry a citizen or resident of the country. After that, you can easily obtain a residence permit or permanent residence depending on the country.

Family reunification

The close relatives of a citizen or permanent resident of the country (spouse, children, as well as brothers, sisters and parents — depending on the state). The right to immigrate can also be obtained by relatives who need medical care in this state — for example, this is an option in Germany. In order to immigrate to another country and join a loved one, it is necessary to prove family ties with the help of birth certificates, marriage certificates and other documents. After applying for a visa and entering the country, the candidate receives a residence permit or permanent residence depending on the country.

Refugee status

People who have suffered human rights violations in their country and need protection from persecution, as well as those who fled the country due to a humanitarian catastrophe (war, hunger, poverty), have the opportunity to seek refuge in another state. The methods and conditions for humanitarian immigration in different countries can vary greatly, but any candidate must prove that he really needs asylum or protection. To do this, prepare as much evidence as possible: medical certificates, photographs, letters with threats, rulings of international courts, correspondence with human rights organizations. They will be needed both for applying for a refugee visa from abroad, and for obtaining protection upon arrival in the state.

There are two possible options for obtaining refugee status without border violation:

  • Enter the country legally with a visa and apply for asylum;
  • Apply for a refugee status while in your own country. This can be done through an online visa application (Australia) or from a third country through human rights organizations or missions (USA).

In some countries, you can apply for refugee status at the border with illegal entry. In this case, the illegal immigrant is likely to be sent to an immigration prison, in which he will wait for a final decision. In case of the successful outcome, the refugee will be extradited.

Special programs

In addition to traditional methods of immigration, some states have special immigration programs that are worth paying attention to. For example:

  • Jewish Immigration Program (Germany);
  • The Late Migrants Program (Germany);
  • Green Card Lottery (USA);
  • Atlantic immigration program (Canada) and others.

Immigration with the family

When applying for a visa and obtaining a residence permit/permanent residence, an immigrant usually has the right to bring close family members — spouse and children. In this case, you need to apply for a visa for each family member. Sometimes the knowledge of the language has to to be confirmed not only by the candidate, but also by members of his family — this condition must be clarified when choosing a country. All family members must apply in person.

An immigrant visa is the first bureaucratic procedure that every immigrant must go through. At this stage of immigration, the host state decides whether the candidate is worthy to enter the country for work, study or other purposes and whether the candidate will be beneficial to society. Not only this is the most important stage of immigration, but also the most difficult one — to get a visa you need to provide more than a dozen documents that are correctly filled and translated into the country’s language: passports, diplomas, bank statements, police certificates, letters of recommendation and motivation letters. Here the candidate should be especially vigilant — the omission of even one required document will close the gates of the dream country, because the host state must be sure of the immigrant's integrity.

To not only temporarily live in the country, but also gain a foothold in it, you need to apply for a special immigration visa. Such a visa gives the right to obtain a residence permit after entry. For this purpose, visas intended for tourists, volunteers, journalists and some other categories of temporary immigrants will not work.

Do not postpone your visa preparation for the last moment: you may not have time to pass a language exam or translate and notarize documents. When planning a trip, you need to remember that the approval process can take anything between a couple of days to several months. It is not recommended to sell all your property and buy tickets before obtaining a visa.

How to increase the chances of getting a visa

  • Provide evidence of funds;
  • Confirm your language proficiency;
  • Represent a sought-after profession in the labor market of the selected state;
  • Have no criminal record;
  • Collect the complete package of required documents (omission of one document may become the basis for refusal);
  • Study the requirements for immigrants in the selected country and category as closely as possible.

Obtaining a residence permit and citizenship

After entering a visa, an immigrant receives a temporary residence permit or permanent residence. Depending on the country, this can be done at the immigration service or at the local police.

To obtain citizenship, you need to live with a residence permit/permanent residence in the country for an average from 3 to 5 years. This period depends on the laws of the country and the method of immigration. Unlike temporary and permanent residents, citizens have political rights: the right to elect, to be elected, and others. Some seek to obtain citizenship of such countries as, for example, Germany, the USA or Australia because with their passports a person receives the right to visa-free entry to almost every country in the world. Procedure of obtaining citizenship can take from several weeks to a year.

Buying a residence permit / citizenship

States offer their residence permit or citizenship to those who are willing to invest in their economy: buy real estate or government bonds, make a large bank deposit. This type of immigration is often referred to as a "golden visa". In fact, this is the right to a residence permit or citizenship that an investor receives after buying a property / investing. Additional requirements for the investor may include the absence of crimes on his account and the execution of medical insurance. Most often, the holder of investments needs to spend several months of each year in the country, not to withdraw investments from the country for several years and have a stable income of a certain size.

Southern European countries are the best option for this type of immigration due to their geographical proximity, the possibility of visa-free travel to many countries, obtaining an EU passport and the most favorable conditions for acquiring a residence permit or citizenship.

Best countries for buying a residence permit / permanent residence through investment

CountryCategory Type of investmentInvestmentminimum sum not including VAT
GreeceReal estatePurchase of real estate256,657 USD[62]
PortugalReal estateInvestment in the restoration of property, which was built over 30 years ago, or one located in the area of the city that is in the need of reconstruction359,319 USD
PortugalReal estatePurchase of real estate513,313 USD
PortugalInvestmentInvestments in preservation of cultural heritage, support of art, etc.256,657 USD
PortugalInvestmentInvestments in scientific research359,319 USD
PortugalInvestmentAny investments1,026,627 USD[63]
SpainReal estatePurchase of real estate513,313 USD
SpainInvestmentInvestment in a bank or enterprise1,026,627 USD
SpainInvestmentBuying government bonds2,053,253 USD[64]
CyprusReal estatePurchase of real estate307,988 USD[65]
BulgariaInvestmentInvestment in a company whose shares are listed on the Bulgarian exchange567,078 USD1000000 BGN
BulgariaInvestmentInvestment in a company whose shares are not listed on the Bulgarian stock exchange3,402,477 USD6000000 BGN [66]

Best countries for buying citizenship through investments

CountryCategory Type of investmentsInvestmentsminimum sum not including VAT
MaltaReal estateFive-year lease of real estate in Malta82,130 USD
MaltaReal estatePurchase of real estate359,319 USD
MaltaInvestmentContribution to the National Development and Social Fund667,307 USD
MaltaInvestmentBuying state bonds or bonds from Malta Stock Exchange153,994 USD[67]
CyprusPropertyPurchase of real estate2,207,247 USD[68]
TurkeyInvestmentContribution to government bonds, Turkish banks, venture capital, etc.475,749 USD500,000 USD
TurkeyReal estatePurchase of real estate237,869 USD250,000 USD [69]

The basic requirements for citizenship

  • Staying in the country for multiple years with a residence permit / permanent residence
  • Investment that guarantees the acquisition of citizenship bypassing the visa process;
  • Language proficiency (language certificate);
  • The knowledge of the culture and political and social situation (passing a civic test or it’s analog);
  • Abandoning previous citizenships if this is required by the law of the country of immigration.

UniPage assistance

UniPage agency specializes in immigration through education. This is the safest and most proven way to move abroad.

Additionally, we help with preparation for international exams, obtaining visas, residence permits, buying real estate abroad and immigration through investment.

Send a request and our experts will contact you shortly.