The Basics/ Living in Armenia/ Opportunities/ Doing business/ Steps to Migrate

Migrate to Armenia

Armenia, a republic, is fundamentally a democracy. This unitary and multi-party country with a very old cultural legacy is, by and large, mountainous and picturesquely located in the South Caucasus area of Eurasia. Dotted with dead volcanoes and jagged and rock-strewn mountains, Armenia’s highest point is Mount Aragats, which is 4,095 meters or 13,435 feet in height. The country’s topography is typically hilly and flat, with quickly flowing rivers and some woods but with more than a few trees.

Armenia has a continental climate with dry, sunny summers and cold, snowy winters. The country has a well-developed road and transportation network, alongside telephone, Internet, and postal services. The international airport is located 12 km away from the center of Yerevan .

In terms of security, the country’s crime rate is quite low. There are both public and private schools, while the populace has an official literacy rate of 99.6%. With Armenian being the main language, Russian is the most popular foreign language at present, with English flanking at its heels.

The capital city of Yerevan is home to over 1.1 million of the country’s population, with a wide array of choices in dining, entertainment and shopping. Malls cater to the populace with both local and international brands. The banking system is well regulated and there are strict bank secrecy laws which make it a crime to disclose information on bank accounts.

Living in Armenia

The overall costs to reside in Armenia, especially in the state capital, Yerevan, really depends on one’s specific way of life even as it is not too high, in comparison with other regions of the world. In case the migrant shifts to a village, or some other semi-rural place, and becomes local, he may almost live, minus any money. In case he stays in, say, central Yerevan, eating at eateries and making trips to bars or pubs every night, enjoying imported drinks, he may use up as much as he prefers.

Food and drink

But, in case he wants to stay in the center of the capital, enjoying food at good eating places, getting pleasure from some locally developed beer or wine with his food, then visiting a coffee bar, say, in the evening, however not spending too much, he may live on just $500 per month. Not living in the center, having food at home on some occasions, or visiting low-priced little shops may, with no troubles, reduce that by half or 50%.

Clothing, education etc.

For clothing, household accommodation, and alcohol and tobacco, a person has to spend more in the capital, vis-à-vis other areas. However, for most other essential items, he has to spend comparatively low. For instance, for the purpose of communication, education, buying groceries, healthcare, transportation and personal care, one does not have to pay out too much in the nation–especially in the capital. Overall, if one were to compare the cost of living in Armenia with other nations of Europe, he will find the same pretty reasonable, and not too expensive. And most of the necessary daily items and services are within the reach of both the common inhabitants and the migrants.

Opportunities

The top industries in 2002 comprised, among others, expensive stone processing, communication technology, jewelry making, forging-pressing machines, electric motors, tires, trucks, instruments, knitted wear, hosiery, shoes, gem-cutting, software development, and food processing.

Armenia boasts of an extremely developed industrial division. In the wake of the breakdown of the former USSR, the industry sectors of the nation branched out to take in flourishing construction segment and modern manufacturing divisions. Today, the country sends heavy machines, consumer products, and textiles abroad. Light industry leads the nation’s industrial sector even while it is outstanding for its range.

Significantly, in 2002, nearly 53 diamond-polishing groups sold diamonds valued at $150 million out-of the-country. A remarkable number of the nation’s small and medium-sized ventures have been duly privatized, in the process, stimulating and inspiring the revival of industrial development in Armenia.

Diamonds, pig iron, unwrought copper, and mineral goods, not to mention foodstuff, are the leading export products for the country.

The nation has registered a very remarkable economic development since 1995 even while price rises have been small for the last some years. This stable economic growth has resulted in a good support for Armenia from several global establishments, with World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) being just two such groups.

Armenian trade is exceedingly reliant on the Economic Union with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan and free trade deals with other post-Soviet countries. Apart from these nations, European Union (EU) also has an important share in the trade of Armenia.

Benefits of Doing Business in Armenia

Strategic Location
Armenia is a good place to do business in Europe. Its strategic geographical location and pro business and pro-investment policies of the government mean entrepreneurs and businessmen are not subjected to excessive red-tape, and they get clearance for their ventures relatively easily even as the cost of doing business in Armenia is not incredibly high.

Rising star in the global world

Significantly, the nation is placed at the 45th position from 185 world leading world economies, in terms of Doing Business 2015, showing an increase of 4 points over the year gone by. And, the economic freedom score of the nation is 67.1, and this makes the Armenian economy the 52nd freest in the 2015 Index. The country finds a place at the 22nd

spot in its capacity as the freest among the 43 nations in the European area, even as its score places it a higher place in the global &regional averages.

Reasonable Taxation and Costs

Low government spending leading to greater efficiency accompanies low taxation rates. The Central Bank of Armenia carefully supervises an efficient private banking system. With Diplomatic relations with more than 180 countries, membership of UNO, IMF, WB, OSCE, WTO and CIS adds to its political and economic muscle.

Entrepreneur Friendly

Thanks to the commencement of the one-stop shop in 2011, the government of the nation has managed to reorganize start-up processes, and cut-down the registration procedure for business by nearly two weeks. The latest structure has also reduced start-up expenses of the entrepreneurs, and it’s currently not very difficult to launch a company in the country.

Good quality at less cost

Highly educated, low cost labor and skilled worker availability, low commercial and residential rentals, accessible high-end technology makes Armenia an attractive country to do business in.

Easier processes

Customs control processes for business have also been made simpler, and it is presently relatively easier for firms to obtain, what is called a certificate of origin, to sell their products overseas, and this assists them save both valuable time and resources. Major inspections improvements have also been taken by the government to decrease the load of inspections on government and businesses.

Business & Taxation

Armenia has an attractive and investor-friendly business environment with:

  • A freely convertible and stable local currency
  • No restrictions on transfer of money and repatriation of capital or earnings
  • Low cost of living
  • A non-discrimination and five-year grandfather clause for foreign investors
  • Allowance of ownership of land and other real estate Armenia offers favourable tax conditions for individuals, which include:
  • No tax on dividends irrespective of the country of origin, the level of participation, and the nature of investment
  • No capital gains tax on the disposition of shares, irrespective of holding period
  • No gift/inheritance tax
  • No net worth tax
  • No tax on insurance payments from foreign sources
  • Interest, royalties and rent are taxed at 10%

For employees, payroll (24.4%-36%) and social security taxes (5%) are withheld by employers.

Armenia offers an attractive tax environment for companies, with:

  • Low statutory tax rates
  • Tax exemptions for small and medium enterprises
  • No tax on dividends irrespective of the country of origin, the level of participation and the nature of investment
  • No stamp/transfer tax on the sale of shares or real estate
  • No municipal business tax
  • No capital/net worth tax
  • A strong network of double tax treaties with 41 countries, including Russia, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Netherlands, UK, Ireland, UAE, etc.

Migrating and setting up residence in Armenia

Armenia has a very liberal immigration policy favoring free movement of persons and business immigration. Immigrating to Armenia is a fast and relatively low cost procedure. Immigrants are not required to make large investments, purchase real property, obtain health insurance, and speak Armenian etc.

The government has not yet put in place a system of work permits for foreign nationals. Thus, there are currently no quotas, labor market tests, or other restrictions on hiring foreign employees. Armenian employers are not required to prefer local people over foreigners. Even after the legal framework for work permits is in place, business owners, managers, holders of permanent residency permits and their family members, will still be exempted from work permit requirements.

Please note that related regulations are subject to change without notice and it is best to check the latest information at the time you make a shift to the country.

Visas

Nationals of EU/EFTA countries and former USSR countries can visit Armenia without a visa and stay for up to 180 days in a given year. Nationals of other countries must apply for visas, which are issued for up to 120 days with a 60-day extension possibility and normally easily obtained upon arrival at the border, either by air or land.

Citizens of certain select countries (China, India, Pakistan, African countries) must obtain visas at Armenian consulates abroad, while an invitation from an Armenian resident may also be required. They have to complete an application and attend a visa appointment.

The extension of a visa takes approximately 3 business days after the application is filed and the official fee is paid. In case of overstay, an administrative fine (from $106 to $213) can be imposed on the applicant.

Residence Permits

Applicants for temporary residence permits shall demonstrate that there are circumstances justifying their stay in Armenia for one year or more. In particular, the applicant shall fall under one of the following categories:

  • Entrepreneur conducting business in Armenia
  • Employee
  • Student
  • Spouse/parent/child/sibling/grandparent/grandchild of an Armenian citizen or holder of a permanent residence permit
  • Spouse/parent/child of a holder of a temporary residence permit
  • Ethnic Armenian

The status of entrepreneur can be proved by any document showing the existence of economic activities in Armenia, including a company registration certificate, contracts for bank accounts, invoice for rental of office space, invoice for equipment bought for business, etc.

Permanent residence permits are available for foreigners who fall under one of the following categories:

  • Entrepreneur conducting business in Armenia
  • Ethnic Armenian
  • Spouse/parent/child/sibling/grandparent/grandchild of an Armenian citizen or holder of a permanent residence permit with sufficient financial resources and housing, who has resided in Armenia for at least three years.

The applicants shall undergo a medical screening at a healthcare institution in Armenia and attach the medical certificate to their applications.

Special residence permits may be granted by the President of Armenia to individuals of Armenian descent and to foreigners involved in economic or cultural activities in Armenia.

Citizenship

A foreigner may apply for Armenian citizenship if he/she satisfies the following requirements:

  • Has permanently resided in Armenia for the last three years
  • Has a command of the Armenian language
  • Is familiar with the Armenian Constitution

Ethnic Armenians and spouses/parents of Armenian citizens are eligible for citizenship even if they do not satisfy these requirements. Citizenship may also be granted to individuals who have provided exceptional services to the Republic of Armenia. Armenia recognizes dual citizenship and does not require new applicants to relinquish any other citizenship.

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