This election season had a lot of people looking into expatriation and it’s an idea worth exploring!
November 14, 2016
By: Bobby Casey, Managing Director GWP
Trump won the electoral vote.
Hillary won the popular vote OF THE PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY VOTED.
And “Did Not Vote” received the highest tally among the entire voting population of the US.
Basically, less than 25% of Americans legally allowed to vote, decided who the next President of the United States should be.
I’m well beyond trying to fix anything. I fixed what I needed to about my situation, and I help others do the same. It’s easier for an individual to change their own life than to change a system that is rigged to fail.
And to that end, there is a lot of information out there for all you disenchanted and disenfranchised Americans. Please be advised that not getting the president you wanted is not grounds for seeking “political asylum”, so put that idea to rest. You will still have to go through the regular immigration channels offered by any country you wish to move to.
While much of liberal America thinks the United States is behind the curve on its immigration policies, they will be in for a rude awakening to find that many of their beloved paragons likewise have their own tedious immigration policies. If this election teaches anything, it should be the real weight of the words, “If you don’t like it, leave”. It’s heavier than people know, but they are so glib when they say it.
The truth is, immigrating into another country takes time and money. Each country requires a different amount of each. But there are other portals into residency as I’ve tried to point out. Everything from entrepreneurial business plans to lineage can be an alternate route into another country.
Many European countries have a lineage clause in their residency policies. Italy and Ireland have that. Spain, Columbia, and Chile have programs for businesses to encourage foreign investment.
To be honest, foreign investment and real estate are one of the easiest ways of getting into a country. If it’s just a matter of getting out, then there are plenty of tourist visas to be had! If you can become location independent then your worries about residency in another country or having to stay in America have been greatly mitigated.
But let’s say you can’t take a business with you on a laptop. Nor can you pony up hundreds of thousands of dollars in foreign investment. Are you just stuck? The answer is NO. You’re not stuck. You have one more “TRUMP CARD” to play (sorry… I had to do it): work visas.
Turns out countries are amenable to letting people in who have jobs lined up. America has a cap on its H-1B visas. But other countries are fine with letting people in if their employer vouches for them and are a citizen in good standing.
Two places come to mind: Canada and New Zealand. That’s right. Both of them were ranked MORE economically free than the United States by the Heritage Foundation, in fact. Both are still members of the British Commonwealth. Both are predominantly English-speaking.
Might as well go with the lowest hanging fruit for the American, right? Canada’s immigration site crashed on election night as it became clearer that Trump was going to win the electoral votes. But there is a bill in the works that could abbreviate the process a bit. If you are already working in Canada, your time spent there thus far could count toward residency. If you are thinking of going to Canada, the residency requirement will go from 6 years to 3 years to gain citizenship.
A shortened wait time is always good news! But how do you get in to get that residency started? Job sponsor or foreign investment. It does come down to employment at the very least, which makes sense in that every country wants some proof that you can support yourself. They have a similar process to America’s H-1B that requires approval from their labor departments.
While the wait time might be shortened, once you get in, getting in is still a considerably long and expensive process. It’s approximately $415 to apply and then another $400 to $7,500 in attorney fees to navigate the process.
“The average processing time for someone applying for entry as a skilled worker was six to 12 months; a live-in caregiver, 51 months; and a self-employed person, 95 months.” (Source: CNBC)
It’s not as easy as people make it out to be: Oh, I’ll just pick up and move to Canada!
No you won’t just pick up and move to Canada.
Just trying to move your worldly possessions over the border can result in heavy fees and even some losses!
New Zealand is similar, but not quite the same. There is one glaring difference. While yes, employment or a source of income is certainly required, employees are in much higher demand, and that makes the job portal a little easier to get through.
“New Zealand has chronic skills shortages. It’s so bad, that three-quarters of CEOs in New Zealand think that skills shortages are the biggest threat to their businesses.” (Source: Business Insider)
Turns out they are looking for skilled workers and tradesmen. While many other countries seem to only offer the fast track to independently wealthy individuals or entrepreneurs, New Zealand is looking for tradesmen. And they mean it! Check out their immigration website. If you look at the banner across the top it specifically calls out “US CITIZENS LOOKING FOR A BETTER FUTURE”. It even offers a free assessment!
If you’re in your 30’s, and you’ve been in a trade for over 5 years, and all you want is something better for yourself and family, this could be it. Turns out it’s cheaper to look for trained and experienced employees from other countries than to pay for training up someone who’s already there! An example is in metal casting work:
“Many metal casting workers are nearing retirement, and experienced metal casting workers are needed to replace them. Many employers can’t afford to train new staff – so when vacancies arise, they’re likely to look for staff who require the least training.” (Source: Careers NZ)
Not every country is right for everyone. Not every country has the same opportunities. Depending on your circumstances, becoming location independent could be for you. You live in several places throughout the year never overstaying your visa. I love it, myself. But if you are looking to retire, plant some roots, or move your business, then perhaps you do need to look into getting residency in that next home country.
Moving your business offshore doesn’t require you to be a multi-billion dollar corporation.
Moving yourself to another country likewise doesn’t require a tremendous amount of capital either depending on where you go.
Get to know what opportunities are where. Now’s as good a time as any! Trump isn’t someone I’ll have to worry about. Obama wasn’t either. And neither is the POTUS after Trump. It feels good to know that. It feels good to know that I’m living independent of election results. I encourage folks to get out there and learn what your expatriation options are. Whether they take you to Mexico, Panama, Colombia, Paraguay, Italy, Spain, Singapore, Thailand, or even New Zealand, I hope you find a way out that suits you.
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