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 feesUnemployment rate[1]Average salary/month[2]Studying/yearCitizenship afterDual citizenshipVisa-free access[3]Immigrants[4]
Germany250 USD3.1%4,151 USDFree8+ years[5]No18916%
US400 USD3.5%5,258 USD18000+ USD3+ years[6]Yes18413.6%
Canada120 USD5.7%4,071 USD15000+ USD3+ years[7]Yes18320.8 %
Australia426 USD5.2%4,446 USD18000+ USD4+ years[8]Yes18329.6%
New Zealand
4%3,527 USD11600+ USD5+ years[9]Yes18325.1%
14.2%3,230 USD735+ USD5+ years[10]No18713.4%
3.2%2,426 USD1300+ USD5+ years[11]Yes1761.8%[12]
4.6%3,137 USD3000+ USD3+ years[13]Yes15921.8%
3.7%4,246 USD108+ USD3+ years[14]Yes18415.4%
Czech Republic
2.1%2,247 USDFree3+ years[15]Yes1837.5%
6.8%3,709 USD4520+ USD5+ years[16]Yes1876.7%
10%3,146 USD1920+ USD3+ years[17]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 years 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

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.

Student immigration

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

CountryExamBachelor’s/yearMaster’s/yearOpportunity to workUniversities in the top 1000[18]
GermanyEnglish / German3240 USD / Free9330 USD / Free20 hours/week46
USEnglish30000 USD25000 USD20 hours/week157
CanadaEnglish / French29700 USD17700 USD20 hours/week26
AustraliaEnglish28000 USD28000 USD20 hours/week35
New ZealandEnglish27000 USD31500 USD20 hours/week8
SpainEnglish / Spanish13000 USD4300 USD20 hours/week27
PolandEnglish / Polish3240 USD3020 USD20 hours/week16
IsraelEnglish / Hebrew8000 USD4000 USDNo6
NorwayEnglish / Norwegian108 USD108 USD20 hours/week4
Czech RepublicEnglish / Czech3780 USD / Free4530 USD / Free20 hours/week9
FinlandEnglish / Finnish / Swedish10800 USD / Free10260 USD / Free25 hours/week9
ItalyEnglish / Italian4320 USD7560 USD20 hours/week34

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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.

Are specialists needed abroad?
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 employees than a regular work visa.

Countries for labor immigration

CountryMin. salary/month[19] Average salary/month[2]Tax with a salary of 2,000 USDTax with a salary of 8,000 USDUnemployment[1]
Germany1,768 USD4,151 USD39.875%67.875%[20][21]3.4%
US1,257 USD5,258 USD29.65–38.60%31.65–40.6%[22][23][24]3.8%
Canada1,560 USD4,071 USD25.61–47.31%36.61–58.36%[25][26][27]5.6%
Australia2,327 USD4,446 USD32.5%37%[28]5%
New Zealand1,963 USD[29] 3,527 USD17.5%33%[30]4.3%
Spain1,013 USD3,230 USD30.85–42.85%38.35–49.85%? [31][32]15.1%
Poland581 USD2,426 USD45.71%45.71%[33][34]3.9%
Israel1,547 USD [35]3,137 USD17.5%41.5%[36][37]4,2%
Norway [38]4,246 USD29.1–32.6%42.1–46.6%[39]3.9%
Czech Republic561 USD2,247 USD26%26%[40][41]2.3%
Finland [42]3,709 USD33.78%–39.78%59.03–65.03%[43][44]7.4%
Italy [45]3,146 USD36.5–40.72%52.5–56.72%[46][27]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

Germany31.5%Federal rate — 15%, solidarity tax — 5.5%, tax depending on the federal state — 14-17%[47]
USA25.7%Federal rate — 21%, tax depending on the state 3-12% (44 out of 50 states)[48]
Canada37.75%Federal rate 9–38%, provincial rate 11.5-16%[49]
Australia30%Exception (27.5%) for companies with annual revenue of less than 15,759,221 USD[50][51]
New Zealand28%Fixed rate[30]
Spain25%Fixed rate[52]
Poland19%Exception (9%) for start-ups in the first year and for small businesses (income, including VAT, for goods and services less than 1,256,105 USD)[ -][53]
Israel25%Fixed rate[54]
Norway22%Fixed rate[55]
Czech Republic19%Exception for investment (5%), and pension funds[56] (0%)
Finland20%Fixed rate[57]
Italy24%Fixed rate; it may be increased depending on the region (production tax from 3.9%[58])

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.

Legal entry into the country and obtaining refugee status
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).
Illegal entry into the country and obtaining refugee status
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.

Getting a visa
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

CountryCategoryType of investmentInvestment
GreeceReal estatePurchase of real estate261,689 USD[59]
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 reconstruction366,364 USD
PortugalReal estatePurchase of real estate523,377 USD
PortugalInvestmentInvestments in preservation of cultural heritage, support of art, etc.261,689 USD
PortugalInvestmentInvestments in scientific research366,364 USD
PortugalInvestmentAny investments1,046,754 USD[60]
SpainReal estatePurchase of real estate523,377 USD
SpainInvestmentInvestment in a bank or enterprise1,046,754 USD
SpainInvestmentBuying government bonds2,093,509 USD[61]
CyprusReal estatePurchase of real estate314,026 USD[62]
BulgariaInvestmentInvestment in a company whose shares are listed on the Bulgarian exchange578,196 USD
BulgariaInvestmentInvestment in a company whose shares are not listed on the Bulgarian stock exchange3,469,185 USD [63]

Best countries for buying citizenship through investments

CountryCategoryType of investmentsInvestments
MaltaReal estateFive-year lease of real estate in Malta83,740 USD
MaltaReal estatePurchase of real estate366,364 USD
MaltaInvestmentContribution to the National Development and Social Fund680,390 USD
MaltaInvestmentBuying state bonds or bonds from Malta Stock Exchange157,013 USD[64]
CyprusPropertyPurchase of real estate2,250,522 USD[62]
TurkeyInvestmentContribution to government bonds, Turkish banks, venture capital, etc.485,076 USD
TurkeyReal estatePurchase of real estate242,533 USD [65]

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.
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