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Covid-19 has halted exodus of SA's dollar millionaires — for now

Suthentira Govender Senior reporter
SA's dollar millionaires have been unable to migrate to greener pastures in 2020 because of Covid-19. Stock image.
SA's dollar millionaires have been unable to migrate to greener pastures in 2020 because of Covid-19. Stock image.
Image: 123RF/elwynn

SA has lost about 4,000 dollar millionaires to countries like the UK, Australia and the US in the past 10 years.

But this year Covid-19 has forced the country's rich brigade to halt their migration plans.

This is according to Andrew Amoils, analyst at Sandton-based New World Wealth, which on Tuesday released the latest edition of its Global Wealth Migration Review.

The report examines recent worldwide migration trends and analyses the potential affect of the coronavirus outbreak on wealth migration.

“Based on our latest estimates, about 4,000 HNWIs (high net worth individuals) have left SA over the past 10 years (2010 to 2020)," Amoils told TimesLIVE.

“Most of these individuals have gone to the UK, Australia and US. Switzerland and Portugal are also popular destinations.”

According to Amoils, in 2019 about 500 dollar millionaires left SA, however this year “not many have moved due to travel restrictions”.

“It should be noted that SA is by no means alone in losing high net worth individuals. All of the Brics countries have lost large numbers to migration over the past 10 to 20 years.

“This is a trend that is gaining momentum and is a concern to most emerging markets,” he said.

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According to Amoils, wealth migration figures are an important gauge of the health of an economy.

“For instance, if a country, is losing a large number of high net worth individuals to migration, it is probably due to serious problems in that country, like crime, lack of business opportunities and so on ...

“Conversely, countries that attract these individuals tend to be very healthy and normally have low crime rates, good schools and good business opportunities.”

According to the report, in light of the coronavirus outbreak, “it is likely to become more difficult to get high net worth individuals to buy into traditional investor visa programmes”. As a result, many programmes are expected to reduce their entry requirements in 2020/2021, he said.

Australia, the US and Switzerland are expected to remain the preferred destinations globally over the next decade.


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