The best countries for business in 2021 according to Ceoworld Magazine

February 18, 2021
Residence permit or second citizenship by investment: ranking of countries to host headquarters
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78 countries around the world have been rated for the business environment and operating conditions of international companies. The rankings were compiled by Ceoworld magazine. Let’s find out where tax policies are stable and how governments support multinational companies.

Ceoworld magazine is an online magazine that writes about business, innovation, health and travel for the wealthy.

The magazine’s experts gathered information for the ranking from public sources: UN websites, World Bank reports, articles by U.S. News & World Report. The opinions of entrepreneurs and business leaders from around the world were also taken into account.

Country conditions were assessed in conjunction with Kearney Global Business Policy Council, an international consultancy.

Countries were compared across 12 criteria. The criteria include the level of economic and political stability, the quality of the country’s business infrastructure and security, the percentage of employees with higher education, and corporate income taxes.

The final score of a country and its place in the ranking is the average total score of all the criteria. The full ranking of countries can be found on the online magazine website.

Top 10 countries for international company headquarters

Place Country Points
1 Denmark 71,8
2 Germany 68,04
3 Australia 67,16
4 Canada 66,39
5 Switzerland 66,06
6 United Arab Emirates 65,27
7 Netherlands 64,14
8 Sweden 63,2
9 United Kingdom 61,3
10 New Zealand 60,97

Denmark is recognised as the best country to open a business and locate a company’s headquarters. The low cost of office rentals is one of the country’s advantages. It is calculated on the basis of the size of the premises, the length of the lease and the number of employees. For example, if a company rents an office at once for 2 years, the office rental cost per employee is 40 EEK, or about $7.

Income tax in Denmark is 22%, payable on a company’s worldwide income. Profits of foreign permanent establishments and income from foreign real estate are not taxed.

Germany is the centre of Europe’s transport network. The country has 23,000 km of roads and 37,000 km of railways. Germany’s motorways are capable of carrying heavy loads of up to 180 tonnes. Good roads allow companies to transport goods quickly and comfortably.

Germany has a stable political and economic environment and business support programmes. In March 2021, Germany will offer incentives to industrial companies that invest in railways. The government will reimburse up to 80% of the costs of repairing and building tracks, railway stations and trains.

Australia ranked third as the country with a time zone that coincides with the hours of operation in Asia-Pacific business centres – China, Japan, Malaysia.

The corporate tax rate in Australia is 30%. Half of the employees in the country have a college degree, allowing them to hire highly skilled professionals.

Canada has been called the best country for immigrants who want skilled jobs. And foreign businessmen are free to transfer company profits to their country of citizenship because Canada has no currency control law.

Switzerland ranks in the top five as one of the world’s richest countries with a stable economy. In 2020, it ranked second in GDP per capita at $81,867.

Most Swiss people have a college degree, which enables companies to hire the right people.

Corporate tax in Switzerland is charged at a rate of 8.5%. By comparison, in Russia, the corporate tax rate is 20%.

How to obtain a residence permit or citizenship by investment in the ranking countries

Eight countries ranked by Ceoworld magazine give foreigners the right to obtain a residence permit or citizenship by investment. We have presented their results in the form of a table.

Ranking of countries with investment programmes

Place Country Points
5 Switzerland 66,06
9 United Kingdom 61,3
13 Austria 60,97
24 Portugal 55,97
31 Greece 54,53
41 Turkey 50,95
52 Cyprus 47,96
74 Malta 41,05

Programme participants invest in the country’s economy and receive a residence permit or citizenship. The programmes offer several investment options, including the possibility to open a business in the country and to obtain residence or citizenship status in return

The Swiss residence permit for financially independent persons is issued by paying a lump sum tax in agreement with the canton. It sets its own tax, the approximate amount being £450,000. The investor is not entitled to take up employment in a Swiss company but can conduct business in the country.

UK residence permits are no longer issued by business investment. But investors can apply for one of the new business visas – Innovator Visa and Start-up Visa. For this, the applicant proposes an original business project, which is not yet on the market in the country. We talked about this in the article “How to get new business visas to the UK”.

A residence permit in Austria for financially independent persons is issued according to quotas. Their number is regulated by law, each region of Austria decides how many quotas it is willing to issue. Investors receive a residence permit by investments of 100,000 € or more in the country’s economy. This type of residence permit does not entitle the investor to work, but the investor can start his own company and manage it.

A residence permit in Portugal is granted if the investor starts a company with a share capital of 350,000 € or more, a head office in the country and five jobs for the local population.

Registering a business in the country and creating at least 10 jobs is another option to obtain a residence permit in Portugal.

The current conditions of the programme are only valid until the end of 2021. We reported on the new rules in the article “Changes to Portugal’s golden visa law”.

A residence permit in Greece is granted by investment in real estate of €250,000 or more. The investor buys a share in a tourist property and receives interest from renting out the apartment.

Turkish citizenship can also be obtained by investing in real estate. The minimum transaction amount under the programme is $250,000.

Permanent residence in Cyprus is granted by purchasing a home for an amount of €300,000 or more.

Maltese citizenship for exceptional services is granted by direct investment of €690,000 or more. The applicant undergoes a rigorous due diligence check. First, he receives a residence permit, and after a year or three years, he can apply for citizenship.

Malta is part of the European Union, so citizens are entitled to do business in any of the states in the region.

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Immigrant Invest is a licensed agent for citizenship and residence programmes by investment. If you want to relocate to a country with the best conditions for the headquarters of an international company, seek advice from experts in investment programmes.

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