Immigration is the act of moving from one country to another. Every country around the world has its own process for authorizing immigrants to become permanent residents. Because every country's process is unique, immigration is quite difficult in some countries, but notably easier in others. Prospective immigrants must typically meet a designated set of requirements, which typically include taking classes in history and/or government, learning the local language, passing proficiency tests in language and/or history, showing an offer of employment (or proof of employable skills), paying a processing fee, and/or renouncing citizenship in any other country.
No scientific or statistical method to determine the easiest or hardest countries to immigrate/emigrate to exists. Additionally, a destination that seems ideal for immigrants from one country may be less appealing to those coming from a country with a different location, climate, primary religion, or culture. With such concerns in mind, many experts in immigration, international law, and travel have created custom rankings of the best countries for emigrants to consider. These rankings typically cater to prospective emigrants wishing to relocate from the United States or United Kingdom. Several such lists have been compiled to establish the aggregate ranking below.
Top 20 Easiest Countries to Immigrate To (aggregated sources):
While the destination country's immigration policies have the greatest influence when determining how difficult a country is to immigrate to, the country of origin plays a role as well. For instance, some countries love Americans more than others, so immigrants from the United States may be more or less welcome in a given host country than immigrants from Russia, South Korea, or Saudi Arabia. Also, though it is much less common, authoritarian countries such as North Korea often forbid their citizens from moving to another country, making legal immigration difficult. Finally, the immigrating person's religion is occasionally a concern. For example, the Muslim majority country of Kuwait requires immigrants to be Muslims who have been practicing the faith for at least five years.
National profiles of the easiest countries to immigrate to
Known for its vast natural beauty and remarkably polite population, the "Great White North" is one of the safest, most peaceful, happiest, and economically stable countries on Earth. It is also very welcoming to immigrants. English-speakers can acclimate with very little effort in most of the country's ten provinces and three territories, and the government has established dozens of programs designed to enable newcomers to establish residency and eventually citizenship. The most popular is the Express Entry program, which streamlines the process for immigrants with in-demand career skills. Additional programs enable immigration for those who have a Canadian relative, a job offer in Canada, or a plan to invest at least $125,000 CAD to start or purchase a business.
This English-speaking South Pacific island nation offers many positives to prospective immigrants, including lush natural beauty, top-notch healthcare and educational systems, and high quality of life matched with a low cost of living. Like Canada and Australia, New Zealand offers many ways for an ex-pat to become a permanent legal resident, including indefinite work visas and—for those with at least $3,000,000 NZD (just over $2,000,000 USD) to spend—investment visas.
One of the world's hardest-working countries, the United States' neighbor to the south boasts 31 states of its own, which come complete with a growing economy, low cost of living, high quality of life, and excellent healthcare (and cuisine). The process of becoming a permanent resident is fairly simple, and after five years—or fewer for those whose spouse or relatives are Mexican—one can apply to become a citizen. Other Latino countries considered easy immigration destinations include Panama, Paraguay, Ecuador, and Argentina.
Australia is appealing to prospective immigrants for a wealth of reasons: awe-inspiring natural beauty, high quality of life, and the easygoing friendliness of the Australian people. Its healthcare and education systems are excellent, the language of choice is English, and immigration is a simple process—especially for those with in-demand job skills. However, people in both Australia and New Zealand drive on the left side of the road instead of the right, which may be an adjustment for some Americans. Like the rest of the top five, Australia is one of the [countries that allow dual citizenship]/country-rankings/countries-that-allow-dual-citizenship, so an immigrant need not renounce their original nationality to become an Australian. The land down under is also divided into states just like the U.S.
According to the United Nations, Germany is home to more immigrants (nearly 16 million as of 2020) than any country in the world other than the United States. This is partly due to Germany's willingness to take in political refugees from countries such as Turkey and Afghanistan, but it is also due to Germany's the thriving economy and low unemployment rates. To immigrate to Germany, a person must be financially stable, have health insurance, know basic German, and possess a visa when traveling from select countries.