As published on bizcommunity.com, Tuesday 1 September, 2020.
As more South Africans and their businesses continue to face the damaging effects of Covid-19 and the tremulous economic landscape, moving abroad is becoming a serious consideration not only for the rich but the middle class as well, says Jean-François Harvey, global managing partner of Harvey Law Group (HLG) Africa.
According to the United Nation's dataset, the number of South African-born persons residing outside of South Africa increased from 330,000 in 1990 to 900,000 in 2017 – then an average of 21,000 South Africans per year.
“Amid these uncertain times, people investing in immigration programmes are no longer just the ultra-high-net-worth individuals; it has become a popular option for the middle-class South Africans as well.
But the concept of residency and citizenship-by-investment is nothing new to South Africans. Many locals have immigrated to some favourite destinations such as New Zealand, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, UK, and the USA. There are over 23 countries globally that offer investment immigration programmes, in which a foreign investor invests into the country in exchange for its citizenship and passport.
The spur of Covid-19 has increased the number of people looking to immigrate.
“Harvey Law Group witnessed a rapid increase in demands for mobility and investment immigration programmes, not just in South Africa, but throughout our offices around the world, particularly with the second quarter of 2020,” says Bastien Trelcat, managing partner of HLG.
Trelcat says the residency and citizenship-by-investment are sought-after strategies. A second residency or passport provides a safety net for an exit strategy, wealth preservation, as well as financial protection against economic slowdowns and political uncertainties in third world countries.
“Immigration programmes are about security and freedom of movement, freedom of choice, and quality of life. Depending on the investment immigration programme chosen, an investor, their spouse and children will receive additional benefits that come with investments such as fast-tracked residency or citizenship,” explains Harvey.
Beyond popular traditional immigration programmes often chosen by South Africans, there are alternative European investment immigration programmes such as Portugal, Greece, Montenegro, and Cyprus.
There is also the option of the Caribbean citizenship-by-investment programmes, such as Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, and St. Lucia, which start from R1.7 million (US$100,000). The Caribbean passport investments are offered through a donation to the National Development Funds or real estate investment.
“As more people seek new opportunities through investment immigration, it is vital they consult with a credible, well-experienced, and authorised partner that provides them with the correct information on investment immigration programmes, adhere to the requirements of both client and host country to ensure a seamless transition into their alternative residency or citizenship,” concludes Harvey.