Whether you plan on moving to Canada, the US, the UK, Australia, or anywhere else for that matter, becoming an immigrant investor means spending a lot of money and overcoming an seemingly ongoing array of bureaucratic hurdles. Before you put yourself through that, you should really be sure that the prize at the end is worth the immense sacrifice.
There are a few things you should consider doing before you “take the plunge” into your immigrant investor application. Below I’ve listed some of the steps that I think are the most important.
Talk to an immigration lawyer. If you haven’t spoken with a lawyer yet, you don’t yet know what your full range of immigration options may be. It may be the case that you can accomplish your goals quicker and with less financial cost than you would otherwise have thought possible. Typically, investor immigration strategies should be thought of as a last resort because of the significant price tags and extreme competitiveness of those programs. In some cases, you may qualify for permanent residence through family sponsorship. In other cases, you may qualify for permanent residence through an economic immigration program such as a skilled worker program.
Visit the country you’re planning on moving to. If you’ve never even visited the country you’re considering moving to, how do you know you’ll enjoy living there? There’s really no way of knowing what life in the country will be like until you experience the place for yourself. Will you be able to stand the weather? Will you be able to communicate effectively with the people there? Will you have sufficient opportunities to work or do business there? Will the people of the country be tolerant of your beliefs or lifestyle? Is the place fun and entertaining? How does your spouse feel about the place? How do your children feel about the place? Will you enjoy the food? To get an accurate sense of what the country is like, you’ll want to travel there on a least a few different occasions and at different times during the year. You’ll probably want to explore several cities to find the place that will be the best fit.
Try to learn at least a bit of the language. For many immigrants, language barriers are the biggest obstacles to feeling truly at home in their new country. While it may be difficult to acquire perfect fluency in the new language, adequate functional fluency is typically achievable with practice. Even if you are fully retired and don’t need to work or run a business, you never know when you’ll have to speak to a doctor, a banker, a taxi driver, or a police officer.
Have others do some of the exploring for you. If you have children, you may consider sending them ahead of you to attend school in the country you’re considering. Many immigrant investor families send their children over first to attend a semester or two of school or to pursue a post-secondary degree. If your children like the place, there’s a greater chance that you’ll also like the place. If your children truly hate the place, it might not be the best option for relocating your entire family.
Talk to a tax lawyer. The tax rules in the other country may be beneficial or detrimental to you in the long run. Knowing the rules in advance will help you decide whether relocating to the other country is financially worth your while.
For more information, check out these investor immigration FAQs.