Big increase in people looking to leave South Africa

The recent violence combined with the tardiness of the government’s Covid-19 vaccination programme has led to a spike in demand for second residency and citizenship programs, says Nadia Read Thaele, founder of LIO Global.

The current crises have further compounded the rising crime and security concerns of recent years, Read Thaele said.

“People want to live and work in a safe environment and are looking for the mobility that a second passport offers,” she said.

“As the epicentre of the coronavirus meets the brunt of the violent protests in Gauteng and KZN, the vulnerability of South Africans is called into question.

“Dual citizenship not only provides the safety and peace of mind that many look for, but also secures their investment into politically and economically stable countries.”

Read Thaele said that the countries that her firm works with which have Citizenship by Investment (CBI) programmes, pointed to a spike in people urgently looking for a Plan B option, namely dual citizenship or alternative residence.

She said that people are feeling nervous and dual citizenship offers easier travel despite lockdown conditions.

According to a recent New World Wealth report, about 4,200 super-wealthy have left SA since 2010, and Read Thaele said the number of families looking for second residency and citizenship options continues to increase dramatically.

“There are many residency and CBI options available to South Africans including European countries such as Portugal, Malta, Greece, Spain, Italy and Belgium.

“Most require a real estate investment and have complex requirements should you wish to acquire citizenship as they are geared at offering residency. Malta for example also has a citizenship programme, in addition to its residency programme, but it requires a substantial investment upwards of R17 million.”

Read Thaele said that the more accessible options are those offered by the Caribbean countries such as Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, St Lucia and Antigua and Barbuda, which offer a direct route to citizenship and a passport, as opposed to just residency.

They do not require any period of residency or visits to the country and offer a quick route to a second passport in under six months. There are also no language requirements, and the countries are tax-friendly jurisdictions.


Read: Economic impact of riots and looting in South Africa and wider emerging problems

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Big increase in people looking to leave South Africa