Countries That Pay You to Move There
Moving overseas isn’t as expensive as you might think. In fact, there are some countries that pay you to move there. It’s an incredible opportunity for people with the right skills, experience, and background. These programs not only help cover the costs of relocation, they also fast-track your visa application ‒ smoothing your way through what can otherwise be a lengthy and complicated process.
Be aware, these offers generally come with a few conditions. They aren't vacation offers. Governments have created them as a way to help rejuvenate communities struggling with:
- Declining Populations. All over the world, people have been leaving small towns for big cities. In some places, the trend has become so pronounced that officials have started offering money to reverse the process and inject new life into rural areas.
- Brain Drain. Lack of educated workers often slows economic growth. Communities can’t function without doctors, engineers, and entrepreneurs. By subsidizing foreign talent, countries hope to encourage growth, improve basic services, and expand their business sector.
- Dilapidated Properties. As a result of population loss, buildings in many historic towns have fallen into disrepair. In some cases, city leaders are willing to provide generous stipends to outsiders to move in and restore these old homes.
Most countries that pay you to move there require at least a one to three year commitment. A remote town in Switzerland will give you and your family $35,000 or more if you’re willing to stay for at least ten years! So if you’re serious about life overseas, here are some of the countries willing to help you achieve your dream.
Start-Up Chile is a support network designed to attract and assist new businesses. Foreigners looking for funds can apply to one of three programs:
- Build. Geared towards high-impact startups in the prototype phase, this program provides $17,250, free of shareholding, enabling you to grow your business without sacrificing control of it.
- Ignite. For business with a functional product, this program provides up to $34,500, free of equity and shareholding, with an additional $28,750 available to accelerate your operations even further.
- Growth. Startups ready to expand into international markets can receive up to $86,250. Owners are connected to the nation’s top corporate and investor organizations to help bring their business into financial maturity.
Anyone interested in taking advantage of these opportunities is required to live in the country until their fund is depleted, normally 5-12 months. Owners accepted by one program are free to apply to the next, as long as they can demonstrate their product's viability. The network backs over 100 startups every year, with a particular focus on software and technology.
While Italian cities are growing at a rapid pace, the countryside is experiencing a severe shortage of people. To help these regions grow and survive, the government is providing generous incentives to individuals and families interested in moving to rural Italy. Participating towns include:
- Candela. A beautiful small town in Southern Italy, notable for its Baroque architecture and arched passageways. Its city council pays new residents $879 to move there. Families with children are eligible for up to $2,197, as well as tax breaks on waste disposal and nursery care. To qualify, newcomers are required to live in town, rent a house, and earn at least $8,240 per year.
- Molise. Located east of Rome, this mountainous region is offering $769 a month for up to three calendar years to anyone who opens a business in one of its villages with a population under 2,000. Applicants have over 100 villages to choose from, but must be 18-40 years old and a resident of Italy or the EU. Americans eligible to become EU residents also qualify.
- Sambuca di Sicilia. In order to attract new citizens, this beautiful Sicilian village is selling historic homes for $1.10. However, as part of the deal, new owners are required to spend at least $16,480 refurbishing their home and put down a $5,493 deposit (returned when the project’s complete). But while this sounds exorbitant, applicants are buying at a discount. Most of the island’s regular market homes sell for $40,3948 or more.
Enterprise Ireland is an investment fund aimed at innovative startups with the potential for international growth. Besides knowledge, workspace, and mentorship programs, the agency also provides thousands of Euros in grants and tax credits for small, medium, and established businesses. Foreign entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply, but must either move to Ireland or register their business there in order to receive funding.
In the late 20th century, as Spain shifted from an agricultural to urban economy, most of its population moved out of the countryside and into the cities. Today, Spain is hoping to lure productive citizens back to its rural towns and villages with cash payments and tax incentives. And while the pace of life is slower there than in Madrid or Barcelona, residents still have plenty of access to good job opportunities, even in more remote regions, such as:
- Ponga. Young couples looking to settle down can earn $3,296 by moving to this village in Northern Spain, plus an additional $3,296 for every child they have. Housing is cheap. The hills are full of white-walled villas and cottages, perfect for growing families. The only caveat is couples must agree to live in town for at least five years.
- Rubia. Families can earn $164 a month by moving to this farming community, tucked into the Spanish wine country near Northern Portugal. The green and foggy valleys are the perfect place to raise children away from the noise and clamor of the city.
- Griegos. Located in Eastern Spain, this tiny municipality is offering newcomers jobs and subsidized rent in their scenic country homes. The first three months are free and you only pay $247 after that. Families are also entitled to a $55 subsidy for every child aged 4-18.
To foster additional growth, the Spanish government has also created the Entrepreneur Visa, which provides upwards of $50,000 to foreigners interested in setting up new businesses in the country, plus a one-year visa for them and their family.
The Greek Orthodox Church will pay $549 a month to anyone willing to help repopulate the island of Antikythera, located in the Aegean Sea between Crete and the Peloponnese. The stipend lasts three years. Though isolated, with a current population of about 20 residents, the island’s chapels, whitewashed cottages, ancient walking tracks, and sandy beaches are stunning to behold.
Denmark is looking for business leaders with innovative ideas. Americans and non-European citizens interested in moving to the country can apply for funding and support through Startup Denmark, a visa project created to attract foreign talent. Successful applicants receive up to $50,000 to launch their product, as well as free, independent, and professional guidance from one of the country’s six publicly funded business hubs.
Skilled workers are encouraged to apply for Austria’s red-white-red card, which allows foreigners with essential skills to move into the country. Non-EU citizens with a valid job offer are eligible for a one-year visa and up to $10,000 cash assistance.
While Canada has no problem attracting migrants, not every province has benefited from the influx of new workers. To help advance its economy, Saskatchewan is offering up to $20,000 in tax breaks to college graduates willing to live and work in the province. However, the program is only open to graduates from the government's list of approved schools, who intend to reside as permanent residents. Those interested in a temporary work permit are not eligible for financial assistance.
Korea, Vietnam, and Thailand
Korea, Vietnam, and Thailand are actively recruiting native English speakers to teach in their schools. Though they are separate countries, they offer similar incentives, which is why they’re grouped together. Their programs are open to American, Canadian, British, Irish, South African, Australian, and New Zealand citizens under 62 years of age with a four-year degree. Indian citizens are also eligible, if they have an English teaching license. Teacher salaries are generally higher in Korea, while the cost of living is lower in Vietnam and Thailand.
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