More South Africans want to leave the country

 ·18 Jun 2015

Emigration specialists reveal a spike in the number of South African citizens investigating or applying for foreign citizenship or residence abroad.

This is according to a report in the Mail & Guardian, which notes that, currently, having a South African passport enables citizens to enter 97 countries without the need for a visa.

Some countries enable wealthier citizens to buy citizenship or residency, with the UK, US, Malta and Cyprus the most popular options for wealthy South Africans, the M&G said.

Residency in the UK can cost as much as R38 million, followed by Cyprus and a US green-card at R34 million, and R12 million, respectively.

For those who like a tan, some islands in the Caribbean can cost as little as R1.2 million to obtain citizenship.

Whatever the cost, local immigration companies are reporting more inquiries.

“Until the end of last year [2014], we would get an emigration inquiry about once every two weeks. Now we are fielding about nine or 10 emigration inquiries a day,” Chris Watters, a lawyer working on immigration and emigration issues, told the Mail & Guardian.

“There has been an increase of 50% more inquiries from South Africans in comparison to the same time last year,” said Vice-chairperson at Henley & Partners, Andrew Taylor.

He said that the pace of queries has accelerated, to between five and 10 a day.

Taylor told the paper that clients choose to emigrate for the future well-being of their children, through the provision of better education and the prospect of more jobs.

He said that many businesses were also inquiring about access to Europe or Northern America.

Taylor acknowledged that his clients were among the wealthiest 5% in the country.

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