Best Countries to Migrate from Sri Lanka

Flag Of Sri Lanka
Rihab Saad

Managing Director
Next Generation Equity

For Sri Lankans seeking opportunities and stability beyond their shores, pinpointing the best countries to migrate from Sri Lanka is a significant step toward a promising future. The quest for improved living standards, career prospects, and overall quality of life drives many Sri Lankans to explore global horizons. We’ve listed the top destinations that offer favorable economic conditions, investment opportunities, and welcoming communities for Sri Lankan migrants.

From the sun-kissed Caribbean islands presenting attractive citizenship by investment programs to the dynamic and diverse offerings of the Asia-Pacific region, we delve into the practicalities, many opportunities, and perks of migrating to these promising lands.

Global Migration Trends for Sri Lankans

Reasons for Migration from Sri Lanka

Sri Lankans have been on the move for various reasons, especially since the country gained independence 75 years ago. The latest trend, often called the third wave, sees a significant number of professionals heading to places like the Middle East, Europe, and the United States.

They’re mainly leaving because of the harsh economic conditions back home, including high inflation and economic struggles, which push them to look for better-paying jobs overseas. A big chunk of these migrants are in their prime working years, from 30 to 40. They’re skilled folks—IT experts, doctors, accountants, bankers, and tourism workers—who are chasing after more stable financial situations.

Key Considerations for Sri Lankans Moving Abroad

There’s a lot to consider when you’re a Sri Lankan thinking about moving abroad. The economic climate back home is a huge push factor, with many aiming to support their families with the money they send back. Nearly 10% of Sri Lankans live abroad, and their remittances are crucial for their families’ survival.

This isn’t something that’s only happening in Sri Lanka; it’s a common scene across South Asia. Countries like Bangladesh and Nepal also see a lot of their citizens heading overseas for work. Take the Philippines, for example, which sends many migrant workers to the Middle East and sees billions in remittances. For Sri Lankans, the ease of getting into certain countries, like the United Arab Emirates, with its visa-on-arrival policy, also influences their choice.

Popular Migration Destinations for Investment

Sri Lanka has realized the benefits of migration and offers various investment-based residency programs to attract foreign investors. These programs have six categories, each with its own investment criteria and visa lengths. The options include everything from bank deposits to investing in local businesses, condos, public stocks, or government bonds.

For example, the “Resident Guest Scheme—Investor” provides a five-year path to citizenship after a qualifying investment. This shows a broader recognition that well-managed migration can lead to prosperity and help meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The World Bank’s World Development Report 2023 points out that migration will become increasingly necessary due to demographic shifts and climate change.

The report suggests a comprehensive approach to boost the positive impacts of cross-border movements for countries of origin and destination, as well as for migrants and refugees. This global view on migration highlights the importance of considering investment migration programs as practical options for Sri Lankans looking to relocate.

Antigua And Barbuda Housing Near Waterway

Caribbean Citizenship: A Door to the World

The Caribbean region has become a beacon for individuals from Sri Lanka looking to invest in a second citizenship. You’re not just drawn to their tropical beauty but also to the benefits that come with citizenship. These include global mobility, tax advantages, and the potential for family security and legacy.

Saint Kitts and Nevis: Investment for Citizenship

Saint Kitts and Nevis, a dual-island nation, offers one of the world’s most sought-after Citizenship by Investment programs. Established in 1984, this program allows you to obtain citizenship through various investment options. You can include your spouse, children under 26, and parents over 65 in your application.

Even after citizenship is granted, you can add dependents, ensuring that the benefits extend to your entire family. You can choose from contributing to the Sustainable Island State Contribution (SISC), investing in approved public benefit projects or purchasing real estate. The real estate option requires a minimum investment of $400,000, with the possibility of resale after seven years under certain conditions.

This program isn’t just a pathway to a second home in a serene location but also offers visa-free travel to over 150 countries, including all EU Schengen countries, the UK, and Ireland. As a Saint Kitts and Nevis citizen, you’ll enjoy tax-free living with no income, inheritance, or wealth tax.

The processing time for the citizenship application is relatively quick, taking only about three months. Additionally, there’s no requirement for a minimum stay, making it convenient if you’re not looking to relocate immediately. The passport issued under this program is valid for ten years and is well-regarded globally.

Dominica: Affordable Options for Sri Lankans

Dominica presents an affordable Citizenship by Investment option for Sri Lankans. The program requires an economic contribution and offers two main paths. You can either make a non-refundable contribution to the Economic Development Fund starting at $100,000 or invest in approved real estate with a minimum value of $200,000.

The program extends to include your spouse, dependent children under 31, and dependent parents or grandparents over 65. Citizenship by investment in Dominica comes with the right to live, work, and study in the country. It also provides visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to over 140 destinations worldwide.

No minimum stay or personal visit to Dominica is required, and dual citizenship is permitted. The application process is efficient, with a dedicated government authority overseeing the program. Visa processing time is approximately three months.

Antigua and Barbuda: Lifestyle and Investment

Antigua and Barbuda are known for their safety, low crime rates, and thriving sectors like tourism, yachting, and business process outsourcing. The country’s citizenship by investment program is attractive for those looking to combine lifestyle and investment opportunities. With a literacy rate of over 95%, the nation has developed significant human resource skills, making it an appealing destination for investors.

The investment options in Antigua and Barbuda are diverse, ranging from real estate to business ventures. The corporate income tax rate stands at 25%. Still, exemptions or reductions can be negotiated based on the level of capital investment and job creation. The country’s iGuide provides you with up-to-date information on business opportunities and the legislative framework for doing business.

To maintain citizenship, you must spend at least five days in Antigua and Barbuda within the first five years. The passport from this Caribbean nation allows visa-free travel to 150 countries. The citizenship by investment program includes a mandatory due diligence check to ensure the integrity of applicants.

Aerial View Of Australian Coastline

Asia-Pacific: Diverse Opportunities

The Asia-Pacific region offers immigrants a variety of investment migration programs, each with its own unique benefits and requirements. These programs are designed to attract individuals who can contribute to the economic growth of these countries through substantial investments. If you’re from Sri Lanka and looking to migrate, you’ll find diverse opportunities to secure residency or citizenship in this region.

Singapore: Selective Residency Programs

Singapore, known for its high standard of living and robust economy, is a top choice for investors seeking residency. The city-state is praised for its excellent infrastructure, public services, and one of the lowest crime rates in the world. It’s an attractive destination for families and business professionals alike.

Singapore is recognized as one of the wealthiest nations in terms of GDP per capita, offering political, social, and economic stability. The Singapore Global Investor Program is tailored for entrepreneurs and investors ready to make significant financial contributions to the country’s economy.

This program is your gateway to obtaining permanent residence status within nine to twelve months. You can choose from three investment options:

  • Inject $7,390,000 (SGD 10 million) into a new or existing business.
  • Invest $18,473,000 (SGD 25 million) into a government-approved fund.
  • Establish a single-family office with at least $147,776,780 (SGD 200 million) in assets under management.

Family inclusion is a key feature of the program. The investor’s spouse and children under 21 can apply for permanent residence. Parents and unmarried children over 21 can also obtain a long-term visit pass.

After maintaining permanent residence for two years, you may apply for citizenship, which offers visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to numerous destinations. However, it’s important to note that Singapore enforces a strict policy against dual citizenship.

Malaysia: My Second Home Program

Malaysia presents a unique proposition with its ‘Malaysia My Second Home’ (MM2H) program, which grants long-term visas to foreign nationals. The program is particularly appealing if you seek a second home in a culturally, language-rich, and economically vibrant Southeast Asian country.

The MM2H visa is a multiple-entry social visit pass initially valid for ten years and renewable after that. To be eligible, you must fulfill specific financial and medical requirements. The program offers several benefits. These include:

  • A renewable visa.
  • The ability to include family members.
  • Favorable conditions for property ownership.

The Malaysian government actively regulates, facilitates, and promotes the MM2H program in visa-free countries, highlighting its welcoming stance towards expatriates. You’ll need to submit a comprehensive application, including the following:

  • A letter of application.
  • Passport copies
  • Proof of financial capability.
  • Background check.

Once a valid visa is approved, you must comply with the conditions stated in the approval letter within six months to maintain your visa status.

Australia: Significant Investor Visa

Australia’s Significant Investor Visa is part of the Business Innovation and Investment (Provisional) visa (subclass 188). It caters to individuals ready to invest a minimum of 3.25 million (AUD 5 million) into significant investments. This program is aimed at those who wish to maintain business and investment activity in Australia.

The visa can be nominated by a state or territory government or Austrade on behalf of the Australian government. It allows for a stay of up to 4 years and three months, with the possibility of applying for a permanent visa if certain conditions are met.

The visa includes your family members and provides the freedom to work, study, and access Medicare. Additionally, it permits travel to and from Australia for its duration.

Investment options for the Significant Investor Visa are diverse, including venture capital and growth private equity funds, approved managed funds, and investments in emerging companies or balancing investments. This flexibility allows you to contribute to various sectors of the Australian economy while gaining residency.

Making the Move: Practical Migration Tips

Navigating Legal Requirements and Paperwork

Understanding the legal framework is essential when considering relocation. The Citizenship Act of Sri Lanka, established in 1948, outlines the prerequisites for various investment-based residency options. For instance, investing in public equity or government bonds necessitates a minimum amount ranging from $100,000 to $400,000, depending on the desired visa duration.

The Direct Investment category mandates a $300,000 to $500,000 investment in a local business, offering visa options for 5 to 10 years. For those interested in the Condominium Investment category, the visa requirements and terms are contingent on the location and amount invested, starting at $75,000.

Compiling a comprehensive dossier is crucial- it must include:

  • A visa application form
  • Passport copies.
  • A medical report.
  • Evidence of the origin of your investment funds.

Additional documents such as marriage certificates, police reports from your country of residence, and photographs may also be required. While temporary residency is available, a path to permanent residency is not currently offered outside of the Resident Guest Scheme – Investor category.

Financial Planning for a Smooth Transition

Effective financial planning is vital for a seamless migration. The Golden Paradise Visa, for example, requires a $200,000 deposit in a recognized commercial bank. The Resident Guest Scheme—Investor category requires a $250,000 deposit plus $35,000 per dependent in a Resident Guest Foreign Currency Account.

The program’s advantages include expedited processing times and minimal residency requirements, which may be attractive if you do not settle immediately. The cost-effective living expenses and advantageous tax conditions in Sri Lanka can also be alluring. However, it’s important to be aware of the restrictions associated with the investor visa, such as the prohibition on employment outside your investment and the obligation to comply with local immigration and taxation regulations.

Integrating into a New Culture while Retaining Roots

Adapting to a new environment involves cultural immersion as well as maintaining one’s own traditions. Engaging with the local community and embracing customs is critical to a successful integration. Learning about Sri Lanka’s history, diverse cultures, and languages will enhance your social understanding while preserving your own cultural identity and contributing to the nation’s multicultural diversity. Sharing your traditions and experiences promotes reciprocal respect and insight.

Resources for Support and Community Connection

Establishing support networks and community ties is crucial in a new setting. In Sri Lanka, various resources are available to assist newcomers in acclimatizing. The investor visa service fee includes support throughout the application process.

Connecting with other expatriates and residents can provide both social and professional backing. Participation in community groups and local events can facilitate a sense of belonging and help build significant connections. Seeking out community centers, expatriate organizations, and cultural associations can offer valuable guidance and fellowship during your adaptation phase.

Embarking on Your Investment Migration Journey

From the balmy breezes of the Caribbean to the dynamic sprawl of the Asia-Pacific, many opportunities await the discerning Sri Lankan investor. Whether it’s the lifestyle allure of Antigua and Barbuda, the financial hubs of Singapore, or the cultural tapestry of Malaysia, the world opens its doors to those ready to invest in a new beginning.

As you chart your course, remember that migration is more than a transaction—it’s an expedition into new horizons. Your journey promises potential economic returns and a mosaic of experiences and connections. With the right planning, legal guidance, and an adventurous spirit, you’re set to turn the dream of a second home into a prosperous reality. Welcome to your next chapter, where investment meets opportunity across the globe.

FAQs Written On Green Background


Which Country Visa Is Easy To Get From Sri Lanka?

Malaysia is often cited as one of the countries where Sri Lankans can relatively quickly obtain a visa, primarily through the Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) program. This long-term social visit visa allows applicants to live in Malaysia on a renewable ten-year visa, appealing to those looking for a more straightforward and less stringent process.

Which Country Is Best For Sri Lankans?

The best country for Sri Lankans can vary greatly depending on individual needs, such as job opportunities, quality of life, and the ease of immigration processes. However, Australia consistently ranks high for Sri Lankans due to its robust Sri Lankan community, ample employment opportunities, and high living standards. The country’s diverse cultures and inclusive policies also make it an attractive destination.

Which Country Is Easiest to Immigrate To?

For Sri Lankans, Portugal might be considered one of the easiest countries to immigrate to, thanks to its Golden Visa program. This program requires an investment, such as purchasing real estate or making a capital transfer. Still, it offers a relatively straightforward path to residency. The residency requirements are minimal, making Portugal a popular choice for those looking to gain entry into Europe.

Which Country Is Best To Move for PR?

Canada is often highlighted as the best country to move to for permanent residency (PR), especially for Sri Lankans. Its Express Entry system for skilled workers, provincial nominee programs, and family sponsorship opportunities provide multiple pathways to PR. Canada’s welcoming stance on immigration, its high quality of life, strong job market, and multicultural society make it an ideal destination for those seeking a new permanent home.


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