Global citizenship company Henley & Partners has seen a significant jump in the number of South Africans enquiring about golden residence and visa programmes.
This renewed interest is fueled largely by the attractive residence-by-investment programs offered by Greece and Portugal, as well as the potential path to full citizenship that each country maps out for investors.
Portugal remains the top destination of choice, with the Henley & Partners South Africa office seeing a 78% increase in investment in the Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program since July 2018.
The firm said it has also seen a ‘never-before-seen uptake’ in the Greece Golden Visa Program.
“Henley & Partners South Africa is seeing a significant increase in interest in these two residence programs, which should be understood in the context of both their relative affordability for South Africans and broader international geopolitical unrest,” said Amanda Smit, managing partner of Henley & Partners South Africa.
She said that the current situation in Hong Kong and Brazil has also driven citizens of those countries to pursue residence options in Greece and Portugal.
“My insight is that it is not just South Africans looking to take advantage of these residence-by-investment opportunities in Europe. People are looking at investment migration more seriously than ever, whether that be in Hong Kong, Brazil, or here in South Africa.”
In addition to Portugal and Greece, Henley & Partners has previously said that it has seen interest in Malta, Antigua & Barbuda, and Moldova.
Smit said that investment migration programs are designed to manage the combination of risk and opportunity.
“On the one hand, they create security: reliably diversifying risk through greater protection from volatile markets and political instability,” she said.
“On the other hand, residence- and citizenship-by-investment programs permit access to a significantly expanded suite of opportunities for travel, investment, and influence.”
In both cases, the benefits that accrue from having multiple citizenships and/or residencies creates significant and unique value for the investor that goes beyond simply providing political risk insurance, said Smit.
“The latest data show that the attractive contribution amounts of the Portugal and Greece residence-by-investment programs (requiring a minimum property investment of EUR 350,000 and EUR 250,000, respectively), combined with the tumultuous state of global and domestic politics, are causing many wealthy South Africans to understand this value proposition intimately.”