By Fang Tian, Uglobal Immigration Magazine
Living in Nanjing, one of the most populated megacities in China with soaring prices and terrible traffic, Leo Lin felt exhausted. The 42-year-old marketing director longed for a change. He dreamed of living somewhere with a slower pace of life, a lower cost of living and better business climate. The idea of immigrating to another country through investment was born.
His options were abundant. From Oceania to the Caribbean and EU, almost every major region of the globe had something to offer. But Lin had something specific in mind. His ideal program must be affordable and reliable, the procedure simple and quick, and he wanted his new home giving him and his family greater mobility and diverse opportunities.
Soon enough, he set his eyes on Hungary, a lesser-known central European country known for its rich culture, architecture and flexible residency-by-investment program.
Hungary’s residency-by-investment program, officially named the Residence Permit for the Pursuit of Gainful Activity, offers different investment options and mobility. Investors can choose to set up their own business for a fee or simply purchase equities of an established for-profit entity as shareholders. The investment amount varies based on the nature of the targeted business. Successful applicants, together with their spouses and minor children, will be granted Hungarian resident permits, which allow them to live, work and study in Hungary. With Hungary being an EU member and part of the Schengen area, Hungary also opens the door to the rest of Europe’s stunning destinations.
For investors like Lin, Hungary had an upper hand for its easy application and fast adjudication process.
“There is no requirement on minimum individual net worth, Hungarian language fluency, education background or business experience,” Lin said.
And unlike many other programs, Hungary’s program has no mandatory requirements on the documentation of investors’ source of funds, the process that usually involves lengthy preparation and extra costs. Despite this, the government is thoroughly vetting the business plan or the targeted investment enterprise, depending on investment routes, to validate its viability. Each case is also evaluated for its ability to boost local employment and contribute to the country’s economic development.
For Lin, the Hungarian program’s fast processing set it apart from other offerings. The law states that decisions shall be made within 21 days of the application. Taking early-stage investigation, due diligence, capital transfer and document preparation into consideration, it typically takes an investor three to six months to obtain a resident permit.
A FIVE-MONTH SPRINT TOWARD EUROPE
With the assistance of Cangate Immigration, a Jiangsu-based migration agency specializing in European investment immigration programs, Lin conducted due diligence on several offerings and ultimately purchased 100,000 euros worth of equity from an established local company with good business performance. Three months later, he received an official letter of approval alongside resident permits from the Hungarian government. From the initial investigation on his options to finally obtaining the “admission” to Europe, the entire process took him five months.
He and his family arrived in Budapest this summer. He was thankful for the helpful relocation services he got from his agency, which helped his family get a realistic expectation about their move and achieve a smooth transition to their new home.
The process of integrating into the local community was not as difficult as some investors might worry about, Lin said.
“English is widely spoken in Budapest,” he explained. “As long as you could communicate in English, there are few challenges left to transition to life here.”
The friendly Hungarian people and a less stressful lifestyle also enabled Lin and his family to adapt to their second home smoothly.
Budapest is a dynamic city with exciting modern opportunities for ambitious global investors, Lin said, adding that the Budapest real estate market has been growing steadily over the past few years.
“Great returns are awaiting,” he said.
As part of his investment package in Budapest, he also purchased a residential property worth 150,000 euros. He is expecting the home to increase in value.
“This is a perfect time to make a long-term investment,” he said.
Lin is confident that he has made the right choice. Hungary has provided him with the life he had long wanted. More importantly, he said he enjoys how Hungary gives him access to the broader European landscape.
“You are not limited to one option from one single country,” he said. “You have the autonomy to choose from a myriad of opportunities offered by the entire continent.”