1. Context in France: the increase in the retirement age for French people

A new pension reform law was enacted on April 14th 2023, which increases the legal retirement age from 62 to 64 years old. Starting from September 1st, 2023, this age will gradually be raised by three months per generation for insured individuals born on after September 1st, 1961. The retirement age will be raised to 63 years and 3 months in 2027 (for generation 65) and will eventually reach 64 years in 2030 (for generation 68 and beyond). This new law represents a significant change in retirement policy and will affect individuals who are planning their retirement in the coming years.

The reform will also provide a slight increase in the amount of the retirement pension: this amount is expected to increase from EUR 1100 to EUR 1200 per month. However, many special pension schemes will be abolished, for reasons of "equity," according to the French Prime Minister. Early retirement will also be adjusted and the list of reasons for early retirement will be shortened. Lastly, employers' contributions to workers' compensation and sickness plans will be lowered: requiring an additional financial contribution from employees.

In light of this new reform, going abroad to live one's retirement will ensure a much more comfortable lifestyle. With a pension starting from 1100 EUR, a French national can take full advantage of what a foreign country has to offer, both financially and in terms of quality of life itself (sunshine and climate, low cost of living...). Whereas by staying in France, he or she may not be able to live this retirement to the fullest.

Moreover, for tax purposes, the French tax system allows for the deduction of the retirement pension at source, which will therefore be taxed. However, in other countries such as Portugal or Italy, the tax rate will always be limited to 7%. Some countries, including for example Dominican Republic, Antigua and Barbuda, and Malaysia, exempt pension from taxation.

2. Immigration solutions for retirement

For retirees looking to make the most of their golden years, there are plenty of comfortable and financially advantageous destinations to consider. One great option is to retire abroad and take advantage of a retirement visa program. This type of visa grants temporary residence in a foreign country and can be obtained by anyone with a stable income, including a pension or other source of funds. This makes the process of obtaining a retirement visa relatively straightforward.

What's more, many countries offer residence visas specifically designed for retirees that don't require any investment in the local economy, unlike other residency or citizenship by investment programs. This can be a great way to enjoy the benefits of living abroad without having to make a substantial financial commitment. If you're considering retiring abroad, exploring retirement visa programs should be on your to-do list. Some countries with the best retirement programs can be cited by example as Greece, Portugal, Italy, Thailand, Malaysia, or Dominican Republic.

Despites the retirement visa options, for French retirees, it may make sense to explore citizenship by investment programs in low-tax countries, such as notably Antigua and Barbuda. By investing in this country, retirees can take advantage of favorable tax regimes, potentially reducing their tax burden.

The following section will present two examples of retirement visa and citizenship by investment programs that are particularly suitable to French retirees.

3. Introduction of the Dominican Republic and the Antigua & Barbuda Programs

3.1. Dominican Republic – Residence for investment in quality of retired or pensioned

The Dominican Republic offers a retirement visa program that allows foreigners to reside in the country for up to one year. This is one of the most advantageous retirement programs for the applicant and their dependents included in the application.

To qualify for the visa, applicants must provide proof of a guaranteed pension or retirement income of at least $1,500 per month.

The application process involves obtaining a police clearance certificate from their home country, as well as providing other supporting documentation such as a birth certificate and proof of medical insurance. Once approved, the visa allows retirees to enjoy the country's warm climate, beautiful beaches, and low cost of living.

The Dominican Republic offers a number of tax benefits for foreign retirees, including exemptions on foreign income and capital gain taxes. Also, this country is a popular retirement destination for those looking to enjoy a laid-back Caribbean lifestyle at an affordable cost.

3.2. Antigua & Barbuda – Citizenship by investment

Another destination appreciated by French retirees is Antigua and Barbuda. The citizenship by investment program of Antigua and Barbuda is one of the most affordable in the world and allows applicants to choose between a donation to the government (minimum of USD 100,000), or an investment in an approved real estate project (minimum of USD 200,000): this makes it very attractive.

The acquisition process is relatively quick and usually takes between 3 and 6 months.

This program is also very flexible and easy to access because there are no special requirements other than the applicant must be aged 18 years or older, have a clean criminal record and the investment.

There are many advantages to the program: the acquisition of citizenship for life, tax benefits because taxes are at 0 rate, facilitated mobility without a visa in more than 30 countries, easy access to the United States and Canada, and without a visa requirement to more than 150 countries and territories, including the Schengen area and the United Kingdom.

In addition, the cost of living is very low and thanks to citizenship, it is possible to work there and to do the same in any other member country of the CARICOM nations.

Regarding the tax system, there is only one tax to pay which is a maximum rate of 25% for income made exclusively in the territory.

4. Summary

Thus, to plan your retirement immigration program with peace of mind, it is necessary to have legal professionals on your side, as the processes take time, resources, and costs over a long period of time. It can be difficult to combine all the procedures, especially when your project is a long-term expatriation which can be complicated.

Harvey Law Group (HLG) has more than 30 years of experience in the field of immigration law and is a large multinational firm with more than 24 offices, including an office in Paris.

HLG provides legal and consulting services to individuals, families, and businesses.

If you would like more information about retirement programs, please visit https://harveylawcorporation.com/citizenship-and-residency-programmes/.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.