Wealth migration is “movement” of affluent individuals taking their wealth from one country to another. Besides wealth, they bring business, investments, family, jobs critical to the economic growth of the country.
Unforeseen Global events such as political crisis, wars, economic downturns, or natural disasters can push such individuals relocate to safer havens. Safety, political stability, global mobility, discretion and personal freedom and low taxes are the key drivers of wealth migration among high-net-worth people who seek better economic opportunities to grow their wealth. This category comprises of 1% of the world population are most attracted to lifestyle preferences, tax considerations, estate planning or education for children. Wealthy individuals in the past have bought property and secured residence in new countries in increasing numbers in recent years. About one third of millionaire migrants prefer to use golden visa programs to buy property.
With wealth migration, there are both winners and losers. One country’s influx can be the other country’s exodus. We imprint the meaning of two terms.
- Wealth Influx – Inflow of wealth from one country.
- Wealth Exodus – Outflow of wealth from one country.
The Global events have shaped the wealth migration trends in 2023. China, India, UK and Russia have suffered wealth exodus in recent years. Europe, Canada are no longer a “hotbed” for the elite.
The key reasons why rich and elite, are shying away are..
- Russia war on Ukraine created great wealth exodus from Russia.
- Brexit, political uncertainity, stringent immigration rules, and crashing property prices caused UK lose its appeal among many millionaires.
- India – Crowded cities, Low living standards, Lack of opportunities, safety, financial regulations, high taxes, weak passport requiring visas severely limiting travel freedom and political reasons.
- China – country’s polluted cities, strict government, lack of opportunities, harsh restrictions on people’s freedom especially handling lockdown with Zero covid policy.
The top countries attracting millionaires are
2. United Arab Emirates
4. United States
Infographic on Wealth Migration Trends – Source: Henley Wealth Migration Report 2023
The main reasons why super-rich are attracted to these countries.
- Australia – Sunny Beaches, Good Climate, Lifestyle, Zero inheritance tax, easy immigration policy, best class education and healthcare,
- Singapore – Politically stable, top quality of life, financial center in Asia for wealth management and family offices
- UAE – Luxury lifestyle, Zero income tax, High end real estate, hotspot for business, conference and trade.
- Switzerland – Discretion, high economic freedom, high wages, stable economy, and favorable tax rates.
- United States – secure sociopolitical environments, rise of asset values and tech wealth, personal security with low crime rates
Wealth Migration Programs
Wealth migration programs have scored big to attract top investors. A great incentive and magnet to attract ‘super rich’ population. Such schemes link to a visa, residence or citizenship to investments made. There is a surging demand for such programs in Europe, US, Canada, and Australia. A number of countries highly compete to attract such affluent migrants with enticing investment packages.
Wealth migration programs are the key to lure super-rich
All these above countries operate Wealth migration scheme to attract investments, granting residence rights. Wealth migration programs attract affluent population, grant residence or citizenship rights in exchange for investments starting from a million. For example
- Australia – Significant investor visa
- Singapore – Global investor program
- UAE – Golden visa program
- United States – EB5 immigrant investor
Elsewhere in Europe, Malta offers exceptional citizenship, while Portugal, Greece grant residence rights to property investors.
According to Henley, data on migration trends “speaks volumes”. Affluent families are extremely mobile, and their transnational movements can provide an early warning signal in terms of a country’s economic outlook and future country trends. An increasing outflow of millionaires often points to a drop in confidence in a country, since high- and ultra-high-net-worth individuals have the means to leave and are usually the first to exit and vote with their feet when circumstances deteriorate.
- Political Instability: Political uncertainty, instability, or unfavorable government policies can prompt wealthy individuals to move their assets to more politically stable regions.
- Investment Opportunities: HNWIs may migrate to safe haven countries with better investment opportunities, higher returns, and favourable economic conditions.
- Education and Healthcare: Access to high-quality education and healthcare services for their children is a key consideration for wealthy individuals.
- Business Expansion: Entrepreneurial individuals might relocate to countries where they see growth potential for their businesses.
- Tax Burden: High levels of taxation in their home country may incentivize individuals to move to places with more favorable tax regimes. Key incentives such as preferential tax regime, no wealth, gift and inheritance tax are key incentives.
- Retirement Destination: HNWIs also migrate to to attractive retirement destinations, often combining a high quality of life, best healthcare with preferential tax regime.
- Nature – Climate, Scenary, Beaches and Sun
- Geographic Proximity – HNWIs prefer a place at close proxmity not too far away from their home to remain closely connected to family, friends and business.
It is important to understand that, Wealth migration trends can have significant impact on local economy, property market, financial markets, tax policies etc. can transform a country to become a “powerful nation”.