Rich South Africans are paying big money to move to Australia

 ·19 Jul 2018

More than 7,260 millionaires emigrated to Australia in the past year, delivering a multi-billion dollar investment boost.

This is according to a new report by the Sydney Morning Herald, which found that visa applications in the Business Innovation and Investment Programme had jumped by 74% in 2016-17 up from 5,781 to 9,051.

This includes investors with more than AUD$1 million (R9.9 million) in business assets – which jumped by 74% in 2016-17 up from 5,781 to 9,051.

In comparison, the ‘significant investor stream’ asks investors to stump up AUD$5 million (R49.4 million) for Australian bonds, shares and venture capital projects.  By March 2018 up to 2,000 of these visas had been approved, delivering a AUD$10 billion windfall to the Australian economy, despite a slow-down after property was excluded from the category in 2015.

Citing a recent report by New World Wealth, education opportunities, a favourable climate, the safety of women and political security were among the top reasons given by investors in the New World Wealth survey of high-net worth clients.

“That is the highest net migration of millionaires to any country last year in absolute terms, let alone correcting for population,” said Grattan Institute chief executive John Daley.

“This is in a year where, Australia’s top marginal tax rate was relatively high [45 per cent] and cut in at a relatively low income [$180,000]. Singapore, with its very famous 15% tax rate, only attracted a thousand millionaires.”

South Africa

According to the report, Chinese nationals accounted for 86.5% of applications on the Business Innovation and Investment visa from 2012-2018.

In comparison Hong Kong residents made up 3.2%, Malaysia 1.4%, South Africa 1.3%, and Vietnam 0.9% over the same time period.

As per the Australian government’s website, to apply for this visa you must:

  • be nominated by an eligible government organisation
  • be invited to apply for the visa
  • have experience in owning and operating a business (Business Innovation stream) or
  • have at least AUD$1.5 million to invest (Investor stream) or
  • have at least AUD$5 million to invest (Significant Investor stream) or
  • have at least AUD$15 million to invest (Premium Investor stream)
  • meet additional requirements of the relevant stream.

While the data points to a comparatively small number of South African multi-millionaires investing in Australia, a much larger number of South Africans are likely moving under less-expensive emigration methods.

This is bolstered by research published by American think tank, Pew Research, which found that Australia is only second to the UK when it comes to the country’s with the most South African expats.

Pew estimated that at least 900,000 people born in South Africa were currently living in other countries in 2017. Of these 210,000 migrants are living in England, closely followed by Australia (190,000) and other popular countries including the USA (100,000) and New Zealand (60,000).

Read: Huge demand for plumbers and electricians in Australia – here’s how much you could earn

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