Immigration statistics for the past 15 years also indicates that South African millionaires are exchanging their country of birth for countries like Australia, the UK, Cyprus, Mauritius, the US and Canada.
South Africa suffered a huge impact and figures indicate that the Republic came in seventh overall in countries losing their wealthy to green pastures.
New World Wealth analyst Andrew Amoils said that in year 2000, South Africa had 20 000 high net worth individuals – known as HNWI and are those citizens with a asset value of at least R12,5million, or US$1 million-, during the course of 14 years the figure increased to 46 800, taking into account the 8 000 that left.
This information is based on the outcome of research conducted by New World Wealth, as part of its annual review of the migration patterns of worldwide millionaires.
The report also claims that since the turn of the century large numbers of global HNWIs actively focussed on the flexibility of foreign or second citizenship, “The main reason people apply for a second residence or citizenship is to ensure freedom of global mobility and access, as well as security and wealth protection for their families,”.
“The majority of investors are typically looking towards the EU. Cyprus and Malta, in particular, are very popular as they offer direct citizenship without long waiting or residence periods,” added Read, continuing that, “Portugal’s Golden Residence Visa, as well as the Hungarian Residence Bond program, have also seen significant interest, as they offer investors residence in exchange for a smaller investment (in comparison to Malta or Cyprus).
“The Caribbean has also recently seen strong demand as countries such as Antigua and Barbuda or Grenada offer direct citizenship in under six months.”
And what have been the most compelling decision influencers?
“I have identified four main reasons that I hear over and over again – the new one that I have started to hear is load shedding – the effect on everyday life,” said immigration agent Marlene Prentice .
“Crime, government corruption, and ‘a better future for my children’ were the other three main reasons, Prentice said.
“I hear a lot of sadness in people wanting to leave, there are really people who don’t want to leave, but feel they have to leave – there is still a love for the country. The push factor is a better future for their children…”
Other immigration professionals have supported these findings saying that their business had also been experiencing a significant spike in emigration queries since January.
Immigration lawyer, Chris Watters, told the Cape Argus that enquiries to his practice had gone from approximately one every two weeks to nine or 10 a day since January.
The most common reason given for leaving was the ongoing disruption to life and business from load shedding.
President Jacob Zuma said in May that load shedding is likely to last for three more years as power utility struggles to keep up with demand due to poor infrastructure, a lack of planning, and financial demand.
Prentice added that enquiries were from all race groups with varying skill ranging from dentists, teachers and accountants, to receptionists and office workers.