Easiest country outside Europe to start business and get residence permit
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Apr 30, 2012 8:03 PM Last Post By: waxybrushes
Apr 8, 2012 10:12 AM
Easiest country outside Europe to start business and get residence permitHi,
My name is Viktor and I am a Swedish citizen completing my engineering studies in May. I have had some good jobs during my short career, primarily within management consulting. However, it is now time to pursue my dream which is to move abroad and try to start a business. This will be done together with my girlfriend (also Swedish). My girlfriend has lived in Sri Lanka for one year when she was younger, and we have been talking about moving there. From my research it seems to be possible to start a company in Sri Lanka without a huge investment (if going through a local agency), and potentially also get residence visas.
My question is however which countries that it is easy to start up a business in, including getting permit to live there permanently? My ambition is to try to get an overview of different alternatives. The countries I am looking for are outside Europe and preferably a little less developed (and cheaper) than the US, New Zealand (referring to the recent post of which country is easist place to immigrate to) etc. Examples would be Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Ecuador etc.
If you could help me to point out a few alternatives I would be very thankful!
Apr 9, 2012 12:09 AM
1I applaud your plan to do this venture. It also looks like you are aware that this is going to be more difficult than it seems due to the small number of countries that give out such visas.
One option is going to be self support visas. These visas allow you to reside in a country as long as you can prove that you have enough income to support yourself. I know that Japan has such visas and I know someone who is staying on that visa. After a certain number of years of residence Japan does grant permanent residency and I know a bunch of people who have gotten it.
Japan may not be what you are looking for due to its status as a rich world country. But costs here can be surprisingly low, definitely lower than you imagine. And Japan is fairly free market in that there is a lot less government regulation of business than in Europe, Unlike many parts of the world, including Southeast Asia, Japan does not discriminate based on nationality in its application of the commercial code, which means that for example you can purchase land just as a local could. Legal protection for your assets is much better than it is in the developing world of course. Something to consider.
Apr 9, 2012 7:46 AM
2From personal observation as a foreigner living in a country other than where I grew up, I can tell you there are several common reasons why people who start up a small business fail.
1. Competing against locals. If the business you envision is in direct competition with locals it can be difficult. They know how things work, you do not. You may find that you cannot buy on credit whereas they can and that means you need much more capital to get started.
2. That leads to the next most common problem which is lack of capital. Too many people move to another country and do not have enough capital to live on while the business gets established. General consensus is that a small business does not usually start making any real profit for 2 years. You need to eat during that time.
3. Location, location, location. Depending on what type of business you have in mind, you need to know whether the location you pick for it is right or not. You do not have the local knowledge to know that until you have been in a place for some time.
4. My advice to people with a plan such as yours is to go to the country and live there for at least 1 and preferably 2 years before investing any money in anything. Do not buy a house, do not start a business. Rent a place to live and get a job in the type of business you are interested in if you can.
The biggest reason for people not 'sticking' in a new country is simply the inability to adapt to that country. It is not about good or bad, right or wrong, it is simply about things being different. Many people cannot cope with the differences and also suffer from homesickness. There is no way to know if you will be a 'sticker' or not until you try unfortunately.
From personal observation I would suggest that approximately 50% go back home within 2 years and 80% within 5 years. If you don't end up staying, any money invested is probably lost. I have never seen anyone leave with more money than they came with and most left with a lot less than they came with.
So by all means give it a try but rent and get a job for a couple of years before you invest in anything.
Apr 13, 2012 8:06 AM
Apr 17, 2012 10:53 AM
Apr 30, 2012 8:03 PM
It looks like you're doing a lot of research before starting your business. Good!
Another location to consider is Hong Kong. It's quite simple to register a business there, either sole trader or at varying levels of incorporation -- I've done the former, my husband has done the latter. There are various ways to sponsor your residence permit from a business as well, that gets more complicated but is still doable. Many people register their business in HK but don't live there, or do their offshore banking there. It's an ideal location to process business payments: low taxes, efficient bureaucracy.
In terms of living in HK, as Alexanxer VI mentioned about Japan, it can be much cheaper than is often thought. We lived on an offshore island and our rent was only US $600/month for a 2-bedroom apt. near the beach.
But this is assuming your business is relatively location-independent, or is international/services-based. If you're looking to run a business serving the local community/expats (restaurant, etc), that requires much more experience on-site (at least a year or better three), and is inherently a much more limited market.
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