Business Immigration programs are part of an immigration category under which individuals with business and managerial experience along with relatively high net-worth may qualify for a temporary residence. The programs allow an investor to legally work, travel, live and conduct business in the country with ability to get a Permanent Residency Visa after a certain period of time. Under these programs the citizenship of specific country can be obtain only through naturalization process.
The majority of the countries around the world significantly rely on foreign investment to drive their economies. Because of the importance, foreign investment plays in stabilizing and improving the global economy as a whole, most countries have taken measures to attract wealthy foreign nationals and to encourage foreign investment into their own economy. To do so, many countries offer significant tax breaks or benefits to foreign investors.
In recent years, more and more nations have established investment-based immigration programs designed to attract wealthy foreign investors with promises of the country’s PR or citizenship. Although every nation’s program is different, investment-based immigration programs can be classified into two broad groups: investor visas and entrepreneur visas.
Investor visas are ones that can be obtained if the foreign national invests a required minimum amount of money into the country. Depending on the country’s particular program, either the investor has the control over where the money goes or the country’s government manages the investment. In some countries, the investment has to be shown to create new employment positions for the country’s citizens before the investor will be granted citizenship. In other countries, the investment is really a donation because the foreign national will not receive any kind of return or profit – but will receive citizenship.
Many investor visa programs are tied to developing real-estate in the particular country and require the country to choose a targeted area or specific piece of property that will benefit from the investment. Others are put to use in developing the country’s school systems, a specific industry, or needed facility such as a stadium or concert hall. Most investor visa programs do not require the foreign national to play an active role in managing or overseeing the investment.
Conversely, many entrepreneur visa programs do require the foreign national to manage and oversee the investment because the investment must be used to either grow an existing business in the country, or to establish a completely new commercial enterprise in the country. Under most entrepreneur visa programs, the foreign national is still required to make a minimum investment into the country, but this amount is typically smaller than that which is required under investor visa programs, and is used to establish and operate the entrepreneur’s own business.
A common characteristic of both investor and entrepreneur visa programs is that the foreign national can bring a spouse and dependent children to the new country as well. Additionally, most (but not all) investment-based programs lead to PR in the country, and after the foreign national has spent a certain amount of years as a permanent resident, the foreign national can apply for citizenship (through a legal process known as naturalization). It is important to note that there are a number of countries who offer a direct citizenship route through investment and do not require the foreign national to be a permanent resident before completing the naturalization process.