It’s winter, the holidays are over, and while I am personally very excited to get back to NYC and work, that sentiment isn’t shared by all of my peers. For those of you wishing you were on a beach somewhere and dreaming of owning your own business rather than working 9 to 5, HAVE I GOT AN OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU!
There are 23 countries with programs that give you a green card or passport or some form of residency in exchange for financial investment in said country. Meaning, if you go ahead and invest right now (and jump through all the legal hoops), you’ll be living it up on the beach in no time. Or months. Or, in the case of NZ, four years. But I digress…
The program in the US is called EB-5 and provides green cards in exchange for “employment-generating investments of $500,000 to $1,000,000.” There are a lot of specifications you need to meet, so it’s not necessarily as simple as it sounds. The main qualification for the American program is that you need to hire and keep 10 full time (35 hours a week or more) employees. You can’t just buy a $500,000 home, but you could put $500,000 into a company that buys and flips homes, or rents out and manages properties (but you cannot subcontract to a different maintenance company, must form your own). On top of the investment, the legal fees are steep in order to get this visa, and people are often rejected because their investment doesn’t qualify. A sort of failsafe and timesaver for this is investing in an already established “regional center,” that has been prequalified by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.
I didn’t look up the specific rules in each country, but the article I first read was in a real estate publication discussing that most of these investments end up being real estate. You can become a developer or property manager, or I imagine you could establish a brokerage, although that seems like a weird choice. If you buy a mansion and hire 10 full time employees as staff, in a country where wages are extremely low, I believe that qualifies as well. It’s all about putting money into the country’s economy and creating job opportunities. Even if you choose to invest in a non-real-estate-related company, you will need somewhere to live, so real estate will still be a part of your adventure. Tying it all together!
The amounts vary greatly, and I’ve listed them below, so you can start planning for your dream home/business/lifestyle (stolen directly from this article).
~Thailand – “elite residency” for $15,253.
~Latvia – residency for $74,973.
~Saint Lucia – citizenship for $100,000.
~Dominica – citizenship for $100,000.
~Antigua and Barbuda – citizenship for $100,000.
~St. Kitts and Nevis – citizenship for $150,000.
~Grenada – citizenship for $150,000.
~ Vanuatu – citizenship for $155,000.
~Moldova – citizenship for $169,292.
~Cambodia – citizenship for $245,230.
~Greece – residency for $290,143.
~Portugal – “golden visa” for $406,200.
~Montenegro – citizenship for $406,200.
~United States – citizenship for $500,000.
~Spain – “golden visa” for $580,286
~Bulgaria – citizenship for $593,384.
~Canada – citizenship for $612,075.
~Turkey – citizenship for $1 million.
~Malta – citizenship for $1 million.
~ Australia – residency for $1.08 million.
~Cyprus – citizenship for $1.74 million.
~New Zealand – residency for $1.98 million.
~UK – visa for $2.57 million.
Not to get political here (ha), but it’s hard for me not to think of the caravan of refugees being so demonized by certain members of our government, while 10,000 people annually get temporary American citizenship just by spending money. I understand that this makes sense; I support job creation and work in an industry with the potential to generate a ton of wealth #notacommunist. But my immediate reaction is to go “These people are buying citizenship!!” the same way someone else may say “Those illegals are here to take my job!” Neither is fair, and my bias is equally damaging, even if it’s a little more “woke.” (Annoyingly, the article I linked to is titled “Where investors can buy a second passport and how much it will cost.” DOING YOURSELF NO FAVORS WITH THESE DOUCHEY CLICKBAIT TITLES, GUYS.)
It’s my first NY Value of 2019, and I want to spend this year acknowledging my biases, being more understanding of all sides of issues, and also staying grateful for what I have. So let’s all just be thankful that we have one passport (I mean, unless something is really going on with you guys) and probably won’t have to walk hundreds of miles to escape violence or famine. Maybe, through a combination of luck and hard work and privilege, we can even invest in other countries and get that second passport. And maybe we can be a little more understanding of those on both sides: the wealthy who are investing in this country we love, creating jobs, and those less fortunate seeking asylum or better opportunity.
I’ll see you guys in Malta.