Have you ever dreamed of living abroad, but worry about how you’d afford it?
Well, we’ve got good news! We’re going to introduce you to 9 exciting countries that pay you to move there. Those countries are:
- New Zealand
- Sark, Bailiwick of Guernsey (UK)
That’s right – these countries will actually give you money if you decide to call them home.
There’s everything here – from scenic island paradises to serene European country towns.
We’ve only included programs that you can apply for WITHOUT already being a citizen or permanent resident of the country in question (otherwise, what’s the point?!)
These 9 countries are rolling out the red carpet for new residents, hoping to boost their economies and communities.
But what makes these countries so unique, and what exactly do they have to offer?
9 Countries That Pay You to Move There as a Foreigner
With its warm climate, beautiful landscapes, and rich culture, it’s no wonder Spain attracts millions of tourists every year. But did you also know that Spain needs more people to move there?
The country is facing a demographic crisis with an aging population and a declining birth rate. Spain is now offering incentives to people from all over the world to encourage them to move there.
In particular, these incentives focus on Spain’s smaller and more rural towns, because these are really feeling the impact of young people leaving to relocate to cities.
Here are some Spanish towns currently offering financial incentives for those who relocate there:
Ponga is a charming small town located in the province of Asturias in northern Spain. With stunning mountain landscapes and a rich history, Ponga is perfect if you’re looking for a quiet and peaceful life.
Ponga is also known for its high-quality local products, including artisanal cheese, honey, and cured meats, making it a food lover’s paradise.
To encourage more people to move to Ponga, the town is offering financial incentives to new residents. The current program provides up to €3,000 (approx. 3,600 USD) in funding for families with children, and up to €2,000 for single people or couples without children.
What’s more, if you give birth to a child in Ponga, you’ll receive an additional €3,000 incentive.
Another small city in northern Spain, Rubiá, is offering its new residents an income supplement of up to €150. To get it, all you have to do is move there.
While it’s a not a famous destination among foreigners, Rubiá offers stunning natural landscapes and a peaceful way of life. Rubiá is well connected to the Galicia region, plus an airport at at Santiago de Compostella, and flights to the city of Porto in Portugal.
Griegos, a quaint village in the Aragón region situated between Madrid and Valencia, is offering an enticing opportunity for families with children to settle down in the area.
In an effort to keep the local school open, the village is offering new residents a job and three months’ rent-free accommodation.
After the first three months, families will only have to pay a reasonable rent of €225 per month, which can be further reduced by €50 for every school-aged child they have.
How to get residency in Spain
Spain is an EU member country, so getting residency is easy if you’re a citizen of an EU or EEA country, or Switzerland. All you have to do is move there and register yourself at the local town hall.
After at least 10 years of residence in Spain, you could be eligible to apply for Spanish citizenship and join the EU.
But keep in mind that, in most cases, Spain doesn’t recognize dual citizenship. You may have to give up your original nationality to become Spanish. You’ll also have to pass a Spanish language exam at A2 level.
Beautiful historic Italy is another of the European countries that pay you to move there.
Just like Spain, Italy is struggling with similar issues. It has an aging population, low birthrates, plus a mass exodus of young people fleeing the countryside for new opportunities in the cities.
As a result, a number of Italian towns are offering financial incentives to encourage new residents to move there.
The rural Sardinian village of Ollolai is the latest player on the scene when it comes to paying people to move there.
In September 2023, Ollolai launched a scheme to offer remote workers three months of free accommodation.
As with so many other towns, the catalyst for this move came from Ollolai’s stagnant economy and depopulation. In fact, over the last 100 years, the local population has dropped from 2,250 to 1,300 people, according to Forbes.
Because Ollolai lies inland, it doesn’t benefit from the beaches and scenic coastline that have boosted other small Italian towns.
But now, the government has invested €20,000 in the new Work from Ollolai program, in the hope it will help rejuvenate the area and bring some much-needed new residents.
In time, Ollolai would love to become a digital nomad hub in the same way as Madeira.
But keep in mind, this is not a free holiday. To apply, you need to have a ‘proven background’ as a digital nomad.
You must also be willing to produce a ‘concrete piece of work’ – such as a conference, an essay, research paper or documentary.
Presicce-Acquarica, Province of Lecce
The small municipality of Presicce-Acquarica, in southern Italy, comprises the two towns of Presicce and Acquarica del Capo. Presicce-Acquarica is currently offering grants of up to €30,000 for new residents.
To be eligible, you’ll need to buy a pre-1991 property in the town and register as an official resident there.
What’s more, the town’s authorities are also offering financial incentives to increase the local population, with grants of €1,000 available for every newborn baby.
How to get residency in Italy
Italy is an EU member country, so getting residency is easy if you’re a citizen of an EU or EEA country, or Switzerland. All you have to do is move there and register yourself at the local town hall.
On the other hand, non-EU citizens will need to apply for a residence visa. Options available include the elective residence visa (for those with passive income from abroad) and the Italian Golden Visa for investors. Italy also plans to launch a new digital nomad visa later in 2023.
After at least 10 years of residence in Italy, you could be eligible to apply for Italian citizenship and join the EU.
Italy recognizes dual citizenship, so you won’t have to give up your original citizenship (unless your original country requires you to do so).
Don’t forget, Italy requires you to pass an Italian language exam at B1 level.
Greece is facing a tough situation, as its population is getting smaller and older.
The birth rate is low and many people are leaving the country. This is putting a lot of pressure on Greece’s social security system, as there are fewer people working to support more retirees.
\What’s more, it’s making it harder for Greece to grow economically and find enough skilled workers.
But the Greek government is working hard to address these challenges. They’re offering financial incentives to encourage people to move to certain areas of the country, like the island of Antikythera, which has been hit particularly hard by the population decline.
The local Greek Orthodox Church in Antikythera is willing to pay $590 per month for the first three years to families who move to the island.
That adds up to a total of around $21,000, which could definitely come in handy during the transition.
You’ll need to apply and have a family to qualify for this opportunity – so it’s not a great fit for single digital nomads.
How to get residency in Greece
Greece is an EU member country, so getting residency is easy if you’re a citizen of an EU or EEA country, or Switzerland. All you have to do is move there and register yourself at the local town hall.
After at least 7 years of residence in Greece, you could be eligible to apply for Greek citizenship and join the EU. Greece recognizes dual citizenship, so you won’t have to give up your original citizenship (unless your original country requires you to do so).
Don’t forget, Greece requires you to pass a Greek language exam at B1 level.
If you want breathtaking natural beauty and super friendly people, look no further than Ireland.
You’ll be captivated by the picturesque villages and rugged coastlines, which are unique in their own way.
Besides, Ireland’s cities are charming and full of character. Music is a huge part of the culture there, and you’ll be impressed by the lively music scene. It’s also one of the safest countries in Europe and the world.
And the great news is: Ireland is yet another of the EU countries that pay you to move there.
Incentives for startups
As part of a mission to expand its startup ecosystem, the Irish government is offering special incentives for entrepreneurs to move to Ireland with their startups.
If you get accepted into the program, Enterprise Ireland will give you a grant of $1,200. To be eligible, you’ll have to live in Ireland and operate your business from there.
How to get residency in Ireland
Once again, Ireland is an EU member country, which means becoming a resident is easy if you’re a citizen of an EU or EEA country, or Switzerland. All you have to do is move to Ireland and register yourself at the local town hall.
On the other hand, non-EU citizens will need to apply for a residence visa. Ireland recently closed its Golden Visa program, but you may be able to apply for residency as an entrepreneur.
After at least 5 years of residence in Ireland, you could be eligible to apply for Irish citizenship and join the EU. Ireland recognizes dual citizenship, so you won’t have to give up your original citizenship (unless your original country requires you to do so).
There’s also the added benefit of not needing a language exam, as Ireland’s national language is English.
Another EU country jumping aboard the foreign start-ups train is Denmark.
Through its Startup Denmark program, the Danish government is offering up to $50,000 in funding, a one-year visa, and support to entrepreneurs who want to make the country their base of operations.
Denmark is one of the safest countries in the world and also one of the happiest, so this program could be a great option if you’re entrepreneurially-minded. The Startup Denmark program is only suitable for non-EU/EA, and non-Swiss nationals.
How to get residency in Denmark
In this case, you can start with the one year residency visa included in the Startup Denmark program, then seek further options once in-country, if you decide you want to stay longer.
Austria is a difficult country to move to, unless you’re already an EU citizen.
But now, Austria’s Red-White-Red Card program is offering up to $10,000 in funding for non-EU/EEA and non-Swiss citizens who want to relocate and work (in a self-employed or employed capacity) anywhere in Austria for a limited period of time.
Bear in mind that you may be required to show proof of German language skills to receive funding under this program.
How to get residency in Austria
If you’re successful with the Red-White-Red Card program, you can get residency in Austria as part of that.
Chile is located in the western part of South America, bordering the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Andes mountains to the east.
It’s known for diverse landscapes, from the Atacama Desert in the north to the glaciers and fjords in the south. Chile also has many excellent local wines, produced in its various valleys.
Chile’s economy is one of the most stable and prosperous in the region, with a strong emphasis on exports, particularly copper, salmon, and fruits.
The country has undergone significant economic growth and development in recent decades, resulting in an increasingly diverse and modern economy.
Incentives for startups
Since 2016, the Chilean government has been promoting the country as a hotbed for startups.
To encourage foreign entrepreneurs to move there, Startup Chile offers three different funded programs for startups at all stages of growth. Funding ranges from $14,000 at the early stage program to $80,000 for the mature startups program.
How to get residency in Chile
The government provides a one-year residency visa for successful applicants in its funded entrepreneurship programs. This temporary residence visa allows the holder to work, study and/or do business in Chile.
Those who wish to stay beyond one year can apply for a Chilean ‘Retirement/Rentista’ visa. To be eligible, you just need to prove a source of recurring income from passive sources, plus sufficient assets to support yourself and your family in Chile.
#8. New Zealand
You might be surprised to discover that the stunning country of New Zealand is among the countries that pay you to move there.
New Zealand is a great place for those who enjoy outdoor activities. It offers countless opportunities for activities such as hiking amid beautiful scenery, diving in one of the world’s top marine reserves, and bungee jumping.
Most nations that pay you to move there are doing so to boost their dwindling population. But New Zealand is an exception. Overall, the country still has a growing population. But some regions, such as the small town of Kaitangata, are still in need of more inhabitants.
Kaitangata is a tiny town with only 753 residents (according to the 2018 census). The town council is offering special packages of land and housing worth $165,000 for new residents who take up jobs in the town.
But, contrary to what many thought, Kaitangata is not handing out actual cash to anyone who pitches up there.
How to get residency in New Zealand
You can get residency in New Zealand through getting sponsored by an employer. Alternatively, you could apply for the Active Investor Plus Visa.
The investor visa program operates on a weighting system, with a minimum investment threshold of $15 million NZD. Direct investments receive a 3x weighting per dollar, so the minimum threshold for a direct investment is $5 million NZD.
Indirect investments have a lower weighting. For example, investments in private equity or venture capital funds are weighted at 2x, and investments in listed equities and philanthropy are weighted at 1x.
You can become eligible to apply for New Zealand citizenship and a passport after 5 years of residence, including at least 240 days per year physically in-country. New Zealand recognizes dual citizenship.
#9. Sark, Bailiwick of Guernsey (UK)
The tiny island of Sark is part of the Bailiwick of Guernsey, one of the United Kingdom’s Crown Dependencies.
Sark is unique because there are no cars on the island, so it’s a great place to escape the noise and chaos of modern life. The island has a peaceful atmosphere and amazing cliffside scenery.
The top of the island is covered in lush fields, with plenty of tranquil bays and coves to check out at sea level.
We’ve included Sark on our list of countries that pay you to move there, simply because it offers fantastic tax benefits.
Residents of Sark have no income tax, capital gains tax, corporate tax, inheritance tax, or VAT/sales tax. It’s as if they’re paying you to move there, by lowering your taxes to practically zero!
How to get residency in Sark
There are two main ways for foreigners to gain residency in Sark: the investor visa and the entrepreneur visa.
The investor visa requires you to have a minimum wealth of £1 million liquid ($1.2 million), and invest £1 million for the benefit of Guernsey.
In contrast, the entrepreneur visa requires a much smaller investment of just £200,000 (around $255,000). You’ll need to establish a business in Guernsey and run it actively. You could also choose to invest in an existing business.
But if neither of those options are a fit, you could also consider a lesser known visa pathway: creative or artistic work. That’s right, it’s possible to get residency in Sark if you make your living from writing, painting, or any other artistic pursuit.
Before you go…
So now you’ve discovered 9 interesting countries that pay you to move there.
Spain, with its rich culture and beautiful landscapes, is offering incentives for moving to several of its smaller and more rural towns. Italy, with its beautiful historic towns, is also providing financial incentives to lure new residents.
Others, such as the island of Sark in Guernsey, provide enticing tax benefits – perfect for online entrepreneurs or other creators.
Whether you’re a citizen of an EU or EEA country or a non-EU citizen, each country provides a pathway to residency and, in some cases, even citizenship.