48% increase in number of South Africans enquiring about second citizenship

Pedro Gonçalves
clock
48% increase in number of South Africans enquiring about second citizenship

Global citizenship company Henley & Partners's South Africa office has seen a 48% surge in the number of nationals making enquiries about Citizenship-by-Investment programmes around the globe.

The increased volatility driven by covid-19 is pushing investment migration into overdrive, according to Henley & Partners.

"The tumultuous events of 2020, including the unplanned pause during the great lockdown, have resulted in people from all walks of life re-evaluating their circumstances and reconsidering how they wish to conduct their lives and — for those fortunate enough — choosing where they want to live by opting for investment migration," said managing partner and Head of South, East and Central Africa, Amanda Smit told local news outlet BusinessTech.

The relentless volatility in terms of both wealth and lifestyle has resulted in a significant shift in how alternative residence and citizenship are perceived by high-net-worth investors around the world"

"Many are taking stock and ensuring they are better prepared for the next pandemic or major global disruption. The relentless volatility in terms of both wealth and lifestyle has resulted in a significant shift in how alternative residence and citizenship are perceived by high-net-worth investors around the world."

In terms of quarterly growth in the numbers of enquiries between Q1 and Q2 2020, the sharpest rise was seen in Nigeria. Henley & Partners recorded an 185% increase in enquiries from Nigerian citizens between the first two quarters, and increases of 48%, 46%, and 40% from South African, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi nationals, respectively.

South Africa was also seeing a sharp rise in the number of people choosing to emigrate financially in order to cease their tax residency with the country and avoid the expat tax.

South Africans living abroad now have to pay tax on anything above their first R1.25m made outside the country. The rest of their earnings - including all fringe benefits, like housing, education and flight allowances - will now be taxed according to the normal tax tables for the year, which can go up to 45% in some cases.

However, expats who follow shady advice to deregister as taxpayers with Sars will suffer in the long run," Jonty Leon, Legal Manager (Expatriate Tax) at Tax Consulting SA warns.

In terms of the total number of enquiries made in the first six months of 2020, Indian nationals outstripped all other nationalities by a long stretch. Henley & Partners received 96.5% more enquiries from Indian nationals than Nigerian nationals, who were placed second, followed by Pakistan and, startlingly, the US.

"The tumultuous events of 2020, including the unplanned pause during the Great Lockdown, have resulted in people from all walks of life re-evaluating their circumstances and reconsidering how they wish to conduct their lives and — for those fortunate enough — choosing where they want to live by opting for investment migration," said Henley & Partners CEO Dr. Juerg Steffen.

"Many are taking stock and ensuring they are better prepared for the next pandemic or major global disruption. The relentless volatility in terms of both wealth and lifestyle has resulted in a significant shift in how alternative residence and citizenship are perceived by high-net-worth investors around the world," he added.

 

Subscribe to International Investment's free, twice-daily, newsletter