Over recent years, investment immigration programs have made coveted residency and passport options for various countries available to a vast segment of the population across the Middle East, India, Africa, and Asia. Without limiting criteria often found in skilled worker or work permit programs, such as language and age ineligibilities, investment based programs offer more individuals the opportunity to attain benefits like visa-free travel, security, healthcare, and superior education than in some of the largest global economic centers.
US EB-5 GREEN CARD PROGRAM
The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program was created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the US economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors. Under the US EB-5 program, investors must invest a refundable amount of $800,000 USD in a government approved EB-5 project. The investor, the investor’s spouse, and any children under the age of 21 may receive in exchange for their investment, a US green card leading eventually to a US passport and citizenship.
Today, the EB-5 program remains the fastest and easiest immigration route for those looking to obtain a US green card and citizenship. Those holding a green card are not tied to an employer like those on an L-1 or H1-B visa. Over the last year, there has been a trend of H1-B and L-1 visa holders already in the US, applying through the EB-5 program in order to ensure US permanent residency quickly and efficiently, while realising backlogs and difficulties in attaining a green card through regular employment routes.
In addition, the green card unlocks abundant benefits for children wanting to join some of the top universities in the world. Holding a green card considerably increases the chances of acceptance in US competitive programs, as domestic students are not restricted by international admissions quotas. Domestic students can also avail resident tuition rates which at times are one-fourth that of international tuition rates. For one child in a four-year bachelor program, a family may save $130,000 USD or more on tuition rates. This benefit is especially helpful for families who choose to send multiple children to the US for post-secondary education or for multiple degrees. US green card holders are also eligible for an array of scholarships and government grants which are unavailable to international students and open the doors to employment opportunities at leading companies once the child graduates with a US degree.
CANADA START-UP VISA PROGRAM
The Canada Start-up Visa Program is a federal government direct permanent residency program intended to encourage the flow of capital into Canada’s economy and to promote entrepreneurship and employment in Canada. To accomplish these goals, the Canadian Government is looking for qualified investors to pool their skills and funds into the business of a Start-Up Founder.
A Start-Up Founder may be anyone who is also looking for entry into Canada through the Start-Up Visa Program. Oftentimes, they are experienced entrepreneurs who may have had successful Start-Ups abroad and would now like to enter the Canadian market with the same or similar business plans. Applicants no longer must come up with their own innovative Start-Up idea. Instead, interested applicants with skills and experience in their own field of work, are pooled as participating members of a Start-Up idea, thereby, qualifying through their profile and minimum investment amount rather than through an innovative business idea of their own.
The program has a total cost of CAD $230,000 (approximately AED 635,000) inclusive of investment and fees, placing it head-to-head with some of the most well-known residency by investment programs in the world – what can be argued as a bargain for a North American passport. Through this pathway, the investor, the investor’s spouse, and any number of children under the age of 22 can be included on a single application for Canadian permanent residency. Canada also offers what can be thought of as a fast-track passport when compared to other global residency by investment programs. As soon as the family completes three years (within a five-year period) in Canada, they will be eligible for a passport. The applicants must no longer hold the permanent residency for a full five-year period to obtain a Canadian passport, so long as their three-year residency requirement is fulfilled.
The benefits of being a permanent resident of Canada include the right to live, work, and study in the country, as well as having access to social benefits such as social security or universal free healthcare – an important benefit for those looking to eventually retire.
CANADA ONTARIO IMMIGRANT NOMINEE PROGRAM (OINP)
The government of Ontario, Canada has recently opened its doors to 100 spots for qualifying entrepreneurs which is exclusive to Step Global in this region. Those who wish to open their own business in Ontario can do so at a starting cost of CAD $410,000 inclusive of fees and investment. Once a business plan is approved by the Ontario government, a work permit will be issued to the applicant who will then have the opportunity to enter Canada on a fast-track basis (within a few months) and work on developing their business.
A number of industries are allowed under the OINP, and the business does not need to be innovative as it does in the Start-Up Visa Program. However, under OINP, the applicant cannot be a mere participant. They must be willing to spend a majority of their time in Canada within the first two years operating their business on the ground and ensuring success, after which the government will make an assessment. If the various business milestones are met, the applicant will then be eligible for permanent residency.
Under this program, the primary applicant receives a work permit which is restricted to their business in Ontario, however, the spouse will obtain an open work permit allowing them to obtain sponsorship-free employment and/or open a business of their own.
PORTUGAL GOLDEN VISA
The Portugal Golden Visa program is one of the cheapest and fastest routes leading to a European passport and has become one of the most popular routes to an EU passport, which allows applicants to live, work, and study anywhere within the European Union. The program was launched in 2012 with the objective to attract international capital into the country after the economic crisis of 2008. This residency-by-investment scheme was designed for non-EU citizens wishing to invest in the European real estate market and at the same time coveting visa-free access to the Schengen states and an eventual European passport.
The applicant must invest a minimum of €280,000 (approximately AED 1,115,000) in a real estate acquisition across Portugal to qualify for residency – which is one of the lowest investment thresholds in Europe. The investor’s spouse and any children who are financially dependent are eligible to apply along with the main applicant, meaning the main applicant can extend his/her Portuguese Golden Visa to his/her direct family members. The application process is simultaneous for the main applicant and the dependents.
One of the unique features of this program is that it is not required to move to Portugal to keep the residence permit. In fact, Portugal has one of the lowest physical residency requirements across all global residency programs in order to remain eligible for an EU passport at only 14 days stay every two years for five years. The investment must be maintained as long as the applicant holds Golden Visa residency status. After 5 years of holding the Portugal Golden visa, the investor and his/her family are eligible to apply for permanent residency and Portuguese citizenship, and passport.
This program is the ideal option for those who wish to obtain a residency and passport while also attaining a valuable investment asset.
HOW TO BEGIN YOUR IMMIGRATION JOURNEY?
Step Global is a leading full-service investment immigration firm in the GCC with over 12 years of experience in the investment immigration and Golden Visa industries. We have a 100% track record of approvals across all applications with clear documentation. Our team is specialized in North American and European investment immigration programs, specifically in the United States EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, the Start-Up Visa Program and Entrepreneur Programs for Canada, and the Portugal Golden Visa for Europe.
Come meet the Step Global licensed lawyers for exclusive seminars on Saturday, March 11, 2023, at JW Marriott City Center Doha. The Step Global licensed lawyers, including award-winning Managing Director Preeya Malik, will be in-person to host a seminar on the Canada OINP and Start-Up Visa Program at 2 PM, another one on the US EB-5 Green Card Program at 4 PM, and a last one which will focus on both the Portugal Golden Visa at 6 PM. During these sessions, the immigration lawyers will take attendees through the process of the various programs and answer all questions. The vast legal and immigration network of Step Global allows for providing not only expert services but also exclusive opportunities for each of the programs that will be presented on that day. Our licensed lawyers will be happy to sit down with you one-to-one on Sunday, March 12th, and Monday, March 13th, to properly put a plan in place for your individual migration journey.