Permanent Residence in Belgium and in other EU-countries
If you are not that kind of investor who can afford buying a big plant or a profitable hotel in Europe, but still you wish to immigrate to some European country through organizing small or medium-sized business, it is risky. In our view, it is unreliable to tie up your legal immigration status in the country with some start-up business. The following material will explain our stance.
Legislation of almost all European countries provides an opportunity to obtain a temporary residential permit through registration of an enterprise. Legal form of enterprise may be either the analogue of Russian limited liability company (LLC) or the analogue of Joint-Stock Company. Foreign investments through offshore structures generally are not welcome. Legislation of many countries also provides an opportunity to prolong the temporary residential permit up to obtaining a permanent residence.
Investments in Belgium
Unlike some other countries (UK, USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand), Belgium has no business immigration program or immigration for investment program. Nevertheless, any foreign entrepreneur can incorporate a legal entity (firm) with For example, in Belgium stages of typical immigration process are the following: at first, residential permit is issued for one year, and then it is being renewed annually. After five years of residence in the country a businessperson may apply for permanent residence permit. Automatic registration in Belgium citizenship is possible after ten years of residence in the country. In order to prolong residential permit in Belgium you should have grounds. Your enterprise should operate and pay taxes. In case you annual salary amount to 35,000 EUR the relevant tax burden will be around 12,000 EUR annually. In addition to this in order to obtain residence permit you must rent an office for your company, you must have a local accountant on a pay-roll. And the last but not least, you must buy or rent real estate in Belgium. There is no requirement that from the first months of the work your newly registered company returns interest and give decent profit. European economy is characterized by relative stability. The market structure is mainly formed, and that is why you should not expect super-profits.
But reasonable profitability will be certainly required from foreigner with temporary residence. Otherwise why should Belgium need you? It would be logical to assume that Western countries (and EU-countries included) give residential permits to foreigners only coming from mercantile reasons. Their economy needs investments and taxes, because money is the blood of economic organism. For people who run business in their home country there is no need to explain that any business may become unprofitable or give profits that are not as high as it was expected by business experts or tax advisors. For those who already have a permanent residence status or citizenship in any EU-country, unprofitability of an enterprise would not be such a serious problem as for a foreigner who is in the country with the temporary residential permit. In case at some stage during the mentioned period of five years the company of a temporary resident will stop allocation of taxes, then temporary resident would not have an opportunity to prolong the residential permit, in which he has already invested considerable funds. Failure to organize profitable business and pay a certain amount of taxes may lead to a situation when temporary residence is not renewed or application for permanent residence or citizenship is refused. This happens with business immigrants from time to time and the main reason here lays in the fact that immigrant chose the wrong way of business immigration. In most cases, it is much easier to do passive investment in bonds (Bulgaria or Hungary) or invest the prescribed amount into property (Cyprus, Portugal, Spain) and get residency based on things that do not require your active control.
For all the reasons mentioned above, if you do not have sufficient amount of money to enter EU as an active investor, we would not recommend you to experiment with business immigration. Another restrictive aspect is physical residency requirement (in many EU countries you will be expected to spend a significant amount of days/months annually to be eligible to renew your temporary residence permit). In many cases the best solution is second citizenship (second passport) by investment programs. Second citizenship opens the whole world of new possibilities – from the new opportunities of vise-free traveling and minimization of taxes to the legal right for job or business in any EU country. Elma Global may offer legal services regarding the whole range of the following programs:
- Citizenship and passport by investment (Antigua & Barbuda, Grenada, Saint-Kitts & Nevis, Commonwealth of Dominica, Montenegro, Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Malta).
- Permanent residence by investment (USA, Canada, UK, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Hungary, Singapore, Hong Kong, and some other countries. Citizenship of these countries can also be obtained but only after some years of physical residence in the respective country.
- Residence based on tax accords (Switzerland, Malta). You can apply for Swiss citizenship and passport after 12 years of residence in the country (10 years on permit B, and two years on permit C). You should keep in mind that application for citizenship of Switzerland does not guarantee that it will be approved. It is always at the discretion of Swiss authorities.
- Residence based on purchase of real estate (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Portugal, Spain).
Considerable experience in immigration cases and communication with people having an experience in prolongation of temporary residence permits leads us to the idea that business immigration option is very often more expensive in comparison with direct passport programs.
If you have any question regarding above-mentioned material or wish to use our legal assistance in obtaining second citizenship and second passport, contact us today