Where and why do millionaires migrate?

26 juin 2024, 09:30


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The United Kingdom is projected to witness an unprecedented net loss of 9,500 millionaires in 2024, a figure second only to China and more than double the 4,200 who left the country last year, according to the Henley Private Wealth Migration Report 2024. This report, released by Henley & Partners, highlights the latest trends in the migration of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs), defined as those with liquid investable wealth of $1 million or more.

Dominic Volek, Group Head of Private Clients at Henley & Partners, notes that 2024 is expected to be a significant year in the global migration of wealth, with an anticipated 128,000 millionaires relocating worldwide. This movement is driven by a combination of geopolitical tensions, economic uncertainty, and social upheaval.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is set to retain its position as the world’s leading wealth magnet for the third consecutive year, expecting a record net inflow of 6,700 millionaires. The UAE’s zero income tax policy, have made it particularly attractive, drawing significant numbers from the UK and Europe. Singapore is expected to attract 3,500 millionaires, while Canada and Australia follow with 3,200 and 2,500 respectively. European countries like Italy, Switzerland, Greece, and Portugal also remain popular, with significant net inflows of wealthy individuals.

It is important to reflect on the importance of migrating millionaires to their destination countries. These individuals bring substantial foreign exchange revenue and often establish new businesses, creating local jobs. Approximately 20% of migrating millionaires are entrepreneurs or company founders, a figure that rises to over 60% for centi-millionaires and billionaires. Israel, for the first time, has dropped out of the top inflows list, a major shift attributed to ongoing conflicts which have tarnished its image as a safe haven. The war has significantly impacted Israel’s appeal to the wealthy.

The UK, once a top destination for millionaires, has seen a reversal in fortune. Since Brexit, the UK has lost 16,500 millionaires to migration over six years, with a projected net outflow of 9,500 in 2024. This trend is exacerbated by economic and political turmoil, and policies like the end of the non-dom tax regime and the imposition of VAT on private school fees, which have made the country less attractive to the wealthy.

Despite these losses, countries like Germany, France, Australia, Canada, and the USA have seen significant increases in their millionaire populations over the past decade. This growth is attributed to new business formation, stock market gains, and prime property trends, with millionaire migration playing a crucial role.

The migration of millionaires is also driving a boom in the investment migration sector. Henley & Partners reports record levels of inquiries about residence and citizenship by investment programs, particularly from Americans and Indians. Popular programs, that are competing with Mauritius, include Portugal’s Golden Residence Permit Program, Greece’s Golden Visa Program, Spain’s Residence by Investment Program, and Malta’s Citizenship by Naturalisation for Exceptional Services by Direct Investment. Caribbean programs in Antigua and Barbuda and Grenada also continue to attract affluent individuals.

Mauritius has emerged as a notable destination, currently the fastest-growing wealth market in Africa and the third-fastest worldwide, with an 87% increase in millionaire growth over the past decade. Its relatively stable political environment, favourable tax policies, and strategic location contribute to its appeal. However, we also need to ensure a safe and secure home for both locals and immigrants without creating a sense of unfair rivalry and an uneven playing field between them.