Dolly Parton may have a point. Looking for greener pastures doesn’t always have the outcome one might hope for. Especially if you’re leaving your pot-smoking beau behind in the bluegrass state of Kentucky.
Who doesn’t, every now and then, dream of relocating to a place where the grass is greener, the skies are bluer and the relentless drill of metropolitan sirens is non-existent? You’re only human, after all. And whether or not your desire to start over is down to heartbreak or the current political climate, the call of adventure can be practical.
That’s because there are countries in the world that will actually pay you to live there, and we’ve got the full breakdown. Here are 10 countries that will pay you top dollar for your company - and which make it a little easier to give up certain luxuries. (Who needs Uber when you live on an island, anyway?)
10 Chile (Santiago)
Take a step back, Silicon Valley, you’re no longer the only cool kid on the block.
Copper mining is big - but risky- business in Chile, and in an attempt to expand its economic growth beyond metals, the government is doing everything it can to transform Santiago into a tech hub. Its emerging technology industry is already taking off with local and overseas talent, and the government’s Start-up Chile program is the major cincher.
They’ll pay you a whopping $50,000 just to launch your business there. In addition to the cash, winners are granted a year-long visa (regardless of where
you’re from), free working spaces and a network of contacts to rub shoulders with. So if you’re a female founder, or the founder of a company less than three years old, they want you.
9 Greece (Antikythera)
If you’re a bit of a rural nut, you’ll be glad to know you can get your calloused mitts on your own house, a yard with chickens, a patch of land for farming and a monthly income of €500 for three years - right by the sea. The catch? You’d be one of just 40 inhabitants on the secluded Greek island of Antikythera.
It’s part of Greece’s repopulation programme to attract families to the island, so while precedence is given to Greek citizens, applications are welcome worldwide.
Sure, the island doesn’t have a supermarket, but that’s what the chickens are for, remember? Plus, we’re betting the crystal blue waters, pristine sands and untouched nature make up for the lack of civilization.
8 USA (Vermont)
Ah Vermont, the green mountain state, home to local Cheddar cheese, Ben & Jerrys ice cream and corn mazes. Its outstanding natural beauty makes it the go-to place for plenty of hikers but sadly, it’s second only to Wyoming for its lack of population, with a rough total of 626,299 inhabitants.
That’s why their Remote Worker Grant scheme offers applicants $10,000 over the course of two years to move and live there. So even though the winters get a little brisk, that’s enough dosh to help you give your priorities a good reshuffling. You could just make Vermont the proud state of 626,300 inhabitants.
7 Spain (Ponga Village)
There are around 46.6 million people living in Spain. That’s a lot of Paella per person. But if you are into tapas, flamenco and siestas (enter: three hour naps) then this could be your lucky day. Ponga, a small mountainous village in Asturias, is all but abandoned - and the government is trying to breathe life back into it by offering young people to up house and move there.
They’ll give around 3,000 dollars to young couples willing to live and stay there - even more if you’ve been touched by baby fever, bad. For every child born you’ll get an extra 3,000 dollars, though you do have to stay there for a minimum of five years.
Just don’t watch El Espinazo del Diablo before you go.
6 Italy (Candela)
This one’s a steal. Just two hours away from Naples, and under an hour from a beach in Puglia, lies a traditional Italian town, Candela. They’ll also pay you for the privilege of your residence.
Because there are always rules, here they are: new residents must live permanently in the village, rent a house, and have a salary of at least €7,500. That’s per year though; so even if you wanted a job selling donkeys, you could still make the cut. And if you’re tired of busy commutes, relentless paper-pushing and extortionate rents, remember there’s an Italian nook waiting just for you.
5 New Zealand (Kaitangata)
If you’ve ever longed for the pastures of Middle Earth, know this: the town of Kaitangata in New Zealand will give you a fourth acre of land worth 165,000 dollars just for moving there. Yes, it’s not hard cash in your pocket, but real estate has high tangible asset value - backed by a decent amount of brick and mortar. This program is essentially responsible for filling the waning gap of people in South Otago (read: the Shire). While Kiwis are preferred, they’ll give you a warm welcome wherever you’re from.
The entire state of Alaska will pay you to live there - permanently. The government pays out investment earnings on Alaskan mineral royalties to residents, which comes to about 2,072 dollars per person every year. To reap the full benefits of this programme, you’ll have to have lived in Alaska for at least a year, not have left the state for a specific number of days (and not be a convicted felon.)
All in all, it’s a pretty decent side hustle - though you don’t actually have to do any hustling to receive your rightful payout (except avoid crime).
3 Chattanooga, Tennessee
Are you what’s fondly nicknamed by millenials as a techie? Called the ‘Geek Move’, Tennessee offers all tech professionals as much as $11,250 for buying digs here. The approved 10 ‘geeks’ who have the right skillset will also get their mortgage paid for (up to 10,000 dollars worth) and partial mortgage forgiveness.
The Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce’s vice president of communications, J.Ed. Martson says it’s an incentive to speed along the development of the city’s existing tech community, and to breathe new life into the 8 neighbourhoods where the Geeks are encouraged to buy their new homes.
2 Albinen, Switzerland
There’s not much in Albinen, a small town in Switzerland, to differentiate it from Maienfeld in popular children’s book, Heidi; there aren’t many residents (240 in total), there’s some pretty remarkable Swiss cheese to nosh on and the scenery is stunning. But, like anything else, there are strings attached: you have to live there for a minimum of ten years (that’s a lot of cheese-induced indigestion), buy or build a property and it can’t be your second home. For your troubles, you’ll get 25,000 dollars per adult, and an extra 10,000 per child.
1 Ireland (Dublin)
The Emerald isle isn't just good for Guiness; it’s also a pretty decent spot to kickstart a business. Ireland’s incentive program, Enterprise Ireland, was created to attract international entrepreneurs. They look for one thing, and one thing only: potential. If you think your startup can make the big bucks, then apply. In exchange for your new residency, you’ll get thousands of pounds to spend as you please. It’s not the duplicitous deal of a leprechaun, we promise - there really is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
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