It is no longer news that thousands of Nigerians have moved to Canada, Ireland and the United Kingdom through Permanent Residence and Study Visa programs in 2022 alone. But not many are in the know that they can also search for greener pastures in these countries through different investment programmes.
It is important to note that a growing number of countries host residents and citizens through investment programs, also known as Golden visa programs. These programs offer a variety of attractive investment options designed to cater to each family’s unique requirements.
Below is the range of investment migration programs the nations offer prospective residents:
Canada is among the world’s wealthiest countries, with a high per-capita income and a leading trade market. The Canada Start-Up Visa Program is aimed at providing permanent residence to entrepreneurs and active investors in companies and expanding businesses that seek to establish a presence in Canada.
Investors are also required to have English or French language proficiency at the IELTS 5 level and have no criminal record, prepare and submit a business proposal, which needs to be approved by a designated government business organization.
Once approved by a business incubator, an angel investment group, or a venture capital fund (depending on the investment option chosen), the client receives a letter of support, allowing them and their family to apply for permanent residence. To maintain permanent resident status, physical presence for two out of five years (or 730 days) in Canada is required. The process takes 12 to 31 months.
Benefits of residence by investment
- High standard of living
- Affordable, high-quality education and healthcare
- The family included in the application
- Multicultural, tolerant, and vibrant cities
- Excellent place to do business, with access to the entire North American market
- Minimal application requirements, with no age restriction, no net worth, and no higher education needed
To obtain permanent residence in Canada, foreign entrepreneurs must propose an innovative, scaling start-up business, approved by a designated organization.
- Business incubation: No minimum investment is required
- Angel investment: Raise CAD 75,000 from an angel investment group, depending on a certain stage of the business
- Venture capital fund: Raise CAD 200,000 from a venture capital fund, depending on a certain stage of the business
- For all three options, additional fees apply for optional consulting, government fees, business structure, document processing, and immigration filing.
With a minimum net worth of EUR 2 million, an entrepreneur can become a citizen of the nation located in Western Europe in a strategic position on major air and sea routes between North America and Northern Europe. The nation, which is also known as the ‘Emerald Isle for its lush landscapes and rich vegetation, ranks among the top five most developed nations on the UN’s Human Development Index.
Benefits of Irish residence by investment
- Unlimited access to and the opportunity to live, work, and study in Ireland
- Residence status in an EU country with an excellent quality of life
- Residence applicable to the whole family including the main applicant’s legal spouse, children under 18 years old, and unmarried, financially dependent children between 18 and 24 years
- Sophisticated, transparent, and well-regulated international financial centre
- No minimum physical presence in Ireland needed to maintain residence status
- Eligibility for Irish citizenship is possible after five years of residence, facilitating access to over 180 destinations worldwide
Requirements of Irish residence by investment
Applicants should fulfil one of these:
- EUR 500,000 non-refundable endowment into a philanthropic cause for public benefit
- EUR 1 million into an approved investment fund, held for three years
- Proof of the source of funds (from personal resources; investments financed from loans will not be accepted)
- Statement of character from police authorities, with no criminal convictions
- Evidence of a minimum net worth of EUR 2 million
The initial investor visa is valid for two years and can be renewed thereafter. The processing time is three to four months from submission of the application to approval and successful applicants may apply for Irish citizenship after five years of residence.
The UK is known globally for its significant economic and political power and is also renowned for having some of the best educational institutions in the world. Its Tier-1 Innovator visa is aimed at those who can demonstrate relevant experience in the business and it requires an individual to set up or run an existing business in the UK.
- Applicants must be at least 18 years of age and have at least GBP 50,000 in investment funds if they want to set up a new business and the funding can come from any source
- Applicants need to have a business or business idea assessed by a Home Office–approved endorsing body. They will assess the viability of the business or business idea and, if approved, provide an endorsement letter to submit with the application.
- The immigration rules distinguish between applicants who apply under the ‘new business’ criteria and those who apply under the ‘same business’ criteria. Individuals who go to the UK for the first time will need to apply under the ‘new business’ requirement.
- Successful innovators are granted leave for three years at a time and can bring their family members to the UK. After three years, innovators can apply to extend their stay for a further three years or to settle permanently in the UK under indefinite leave to remain (ILR).
- Each of these three stages (initial application, extension, settlement) requires endorsement from an endorsing body.
- To qualify for ILR under the Tier 1 Innovator visa category, applicants are required to meet certain criteria, detailed in the downloadable UK Innovator Program factsheet.
You can apply for a Tier 1 Innovator visa if:
- You are outside the UK
- You meet the other eligibility requirements (that is, are 18 years old, have sufficient personal savings, and speak the English language)
- The completed application and supporting documentation must be submitted to the diplomatic post in the applicant’s country of residence. The time frame from the submission of the application is dependent on the embassy receiving the application, and approval may take between one and eight weeks.
Upon being granted settlement and spending a minimum of five years in the UK (the applicant must have held ILR in the last 12 months of that period), it is possible to apply for British citizenship.