Easiest Countries to Immigrate in Europe

Updated on Wednesday 27th January 2021

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Following a job opportunity, pursuing a degree or better living conditions are among the most important reasons behind a decision to relocate to a foreign country. Some of the countries that are considered the easiest to immigrate to Europe are the ones that have a simple procedure for gaining a  residence permit and citizenship, with a friendly taxation system and attractive employment conditions.  

Various countries in Europe offer attractive options in terms of quality of life, job opportunities and access to higher education. What’s more, many EU countries have ongoing investment programs that target those entrepreneurs willing to make substantial investments in local real estate or who are willing to open a business that will add value to the local market and will help create new jobs. The conditions for immigrating to many of the presented countries will include not only having the necessary capital for a particular type of investment but also complying with the regulations for a clean criminal record and a good health state. 

Out of the mentioned countries, the Netherlands scores well in many areas that have to do both with the business climate and the quality of life. 

Our immigration lawyer in the Netherlands has prepared for you a list of the countries in Europe where is easy to relocate to.


How can you relocate to the Netherlands?


The Dutch immigration law is an inclusive one, offering a wide range of visas and residence permits for individuals who decide to relocate to the Netherlands. Citizens pertaining to an EU or EEA countries have very simple immigration requirements to fulfill in order to live and travel in the Netherlands. Nationals from any other country in the world can immigrate to the Netherlands on account of specific provisions such as residence permits granted by investing in the Netherlands, asylum residence permits or residence permits for formerly privileged persons.
 
Below, we describe manners in which a foreign national or investor can gain permanent residency in the Netherlands are the following:
  • as an employee: this is perhaps the most common manner in which foreign nationals choose to undergo the Netherlands immigration requirements.
  • as an independent entrepreneur: foreign investors who are willing to come to the country and engage in a self-employed business can obtain a residence permit in Netherlands; a condition is for their activities to be of interest to the Dutch economy.
  • as a highly-skilled migrant: a special category of employees can obtain a residence permit in the Netherlands once they have an employment contract with a research institution or another employer in the country; it should be noted that this type of residence permit in Netherlands is not available to EU/EEA Swiss nationals.
  • as a start-up founder: investors who wish to open a company, a start-up can apply for a residence permit for this purpose; the product should be an innovative one and they should also collaborate with a facilitator who is reliable and experiences; upon submitting the application for the residence permit, the applicant must prove that he has sufficient means to reside in the country and must present a business plan; the start-up company needs to be registered with the Trade Register. 
  • as a student: one way to immigrate to the Netherlands is to first obtain a residence permit for studying at a Dutch university. 
Foreign nationals should know that all of these methods of arriving in a foreign country, the Netherlands included, imply that the applicant submits a special form, along with the relevant documents, to the embassy or consulate of the country to which he or she wishes to immigrate to. The process is accomplished before arriving in the new country and it is important to schedule the departure in such a manner that all of the documents are prepared and the permit or visa is obtained before arrival to the country of choice.

Our immigration lawyer in the Netherlands can give you extensive details about the Dutch immigration system and how to obtain Dutch citizenship.

What are the conditions for moving to Spain?


Spain is one of the EU countries to receive the largest number of immigrants and refugees during the last few years. According to a report from Eurostat, the number of immigrants in Spain was 532.1 thousand. The country offers numerous advantages, among which its geographical position and climate are favorites for many immigrants. The quality of healthcare services is another reason as well as the fact that the country welcomes foreign nationals. 

Long-term visas in Spain are issues for work, study or research as well as investments. Moreover, immigrants may choose the non-lucrative visa, if they can prove that they can sustain themselves (and their dependents, if applicable), without working in Spain. Individuals who wish to retire to Spain may use this visa as long as they have a steady source of income (some types of income are not taken into consideration).

How can one immigrate to Portugal?


Similar to Spain, Portugal is attractive for foreign nationals moving from Latin American countries, especially Brazil, because of language considerations. The country also offers visas for employment, highly skilled migrants, researchers and teachers, family reunification and investment. 

A scheme that is similar to one in place in Spain grants a residence permit to investors who commit to purchasing property in the country of a certain amount (the usual amount is 500,000 euros, however, investors are advised to verify the requirements). The residence permit is awarded for one year after the investment is complete, and it can be renewed. Under this scheme, foreign nationals can also bring their families to Portugal. 
 

How can foreign nationals move to Malta?

Malta is an attractive immigration destination for those seeking to obtain residence or citizenship. There are several incentives that the local authorities offer to foreign nationals who want to immigrate to Malta. Obtaining citizenship by investment in Malta is possible a property purchase of 350,000 euros that needs to be owned by the foreign national for at least five years (they can also lease the property for five years with a minimum annual rent). Citizenship by investment is also possible through a significant and non-refundable contribution to the National Development and Social Fund. The main applicant will make the most substantial contribution and other contributions will also be demanded of the spouse, the minor children, the children ages 18-25 who are unmarried, the dependent parents and grandparents. The final alternative for obtaining citizenship by investment is through a bonds investment of at least 150,000 euros.


What is immigration to Cyprus like?


Besides the warm weather and sandy shores, the Mediterranean island offers accessible immigration procedures to those interested in moving permanently there. Citizenship can be secured in Cyprus if you buy a real estate worth 300,000 EUR. Furthermore, if you decide to start a business in Cyprus, the authorities provide a 12.5% corporation tax for the resident`s business. According to law, the family of an investor who applies for a permanent residence permit in Cyprus can also obtain the same permit with the status of dependents. This can apply for the married spouse, the children under 18 years of age as well as financially dependent children of up to 25 years of age and the parents of the investor.
 

How can you move to Latvia?


Latvia provides very well developed immigration services, for both EU citizens and non-EU nationals who want to live and work here. The Latvian immigration legislation stipulates many options for acquiring a residence permit or citizenship, but the most popular ones are an investment in a Latvian company, real estate or banks. For example, investors can purchase company shares with a value of 50,000 euros in order to receive temporary residence. The alternative is to invest 250,000 in government bonds or to purchase real estate amounting to 250,000 euros, plus the state fees (of 5%). Opening a company in Latvia will also allow investors to obtain a temporary residence permit of five years that can be renewed. For this purpose, the investment needs to be of at least 90.000 euros in the new Latvian business. The Latvian residence permits offer a lot of advantages: to invite relatives for visa purposes, automatic provision of a residence permit for your spouse and underage children, discounted or free education within the EU and the entitlement to social privileges (medical treatment, maternity leave).
 

Moving to Europe


Foreign nationals who are considering immigrating to Europe can also explore other options for gaining residency through real estate investments. The golden visa, as it is called in some countries, is a manner in which a foreign national can acquire a residence permit when buying a residential property. This option is available in Spain as well as Portugal and a number of conditions apply, among which the most important is the value of the investment. The property or properties purchased should have a value of 500,000 euros. Alternatives investments exist in both of these countries for entrepreneurs interested in opening a company (that is valuable for the economy and helps creates jobs), if real estate purchase is not a target type of investment.

Moving to Europe can be a suitable option for many foreign nationals from Canada, the United States or Asia. The old continent has some of the most developed business and financial centers and many entrepreneurs are considering opening a new business in an EU state or relocating their headquarters (in low-tax jurisdictions like Ireland or Cyprus). Of course, Europe is not only attractive to investors but also to employees or students because of the high quality of life in many countries. The Netherlands remains one of the top choices for immigration in Europe because of its geographical position, the pro-business environment, ease of doing business and the high quality of life. Expats in the Netherlands can easily accommodate in their chosen Dutch city and the expat community is a diverse one. Families will also enjoy the education system as the Netherlands has plenty of options for top universities. 
 
Europe remains an important destination for migrants and refugees. As per a set of statistics released by the European Commission, the number of migrants remains high:
 
  • in 2017 there were 179,539 arrivals (from January 01 to December 05);
  • in 2-18 the number of arrivals in Europe was 134,004 (for the same period);
  • a total of 4.4 million people immigrated to one of the EU states in 2017.
  • three countries reported high numbers of immigrants in 2017: Germany (917.1 thousand), the United Kingdom (644.2 thousand) and Spain (532.1 thousand).
  • 22 of the EU member states reported that they have recorded more immigration than emigration in 2017.
 
The data included above is based on several reports, including one from Eurostat. For detailed information about the immigration situation in the Netherlands, please reach out to our team of Dutch immigration lawyers.
 
The decision to relocate to another country can be motivated by a number of factors, both constraining ones, like in the case of refugees or those fleeing their home countries and ones that have to do with opportunities for development and better life and business opportunities. 
 
Europe is a destination of choice for many immigrants because it allows for a unified system of laws while the countries retain their national identities and particularities. Moreover, various countries have attractive options in terms of geography and climate, making the transition much easier for immigrants from Latin America or Asia, for example. 
 
Regardless of the European country you choose to relocate to, it is advisable to perform a prior check of the local laws and requirements for immigrants. You should be well aware of the laws for renewing the residence permits and the period after which you may gain citizenship, an issue that is important for many immigrants looking towards relocating. 
 
If the Netherlands is your choice, our team of Dutch immigration lawyers can help you understand the local requirements even before you arrive in the country, if you wish to be prepared. Families traveling together can benefit even more from our expat services that can also include post-arrival issues such as finding a right kindergarten or school for the children and understanding all of the regulations that are in place as well as the duties of a new member of the Dutch society. 

Feel free to contact our team of Netherlands immigration advisors if you need extensive information about the Dutch immigration procedures and the advantages of moving to the Netherlands. If you are already living in the country, we can give you details on how to apply for Dutch citizenship.