There’s an intriguing phenomenon happening in South Africa, with the number of people looking for citizenship in other countries on a steep rise of late.

More specifically locals are investing in other countries in order to secure citizenship, with South Africa said to be not too far behind that of Russia, China and the Middle East in terms of investments, according to Next Generation Equity.

These specialists in citizenship note that an approximate $2.4 billion is spent globally on out-of-border investments each year.

A sharp increase

As for South Africa, they do not have precise spending figures for Citizenship-by-Investment, but do note that SA citizens are investing at a rapidly rising rate of late.

“Recent media reports highlight an increase in applications by a staggering rate of 229% since 2017. And, the number continues to grow with our head-office inundated with applications,” says Paul Heijsman, head of sales at NGE.

Looking deeper into the statistics, Heijsman adds that the average age of applicants leans towards the 40-plus range, with families and located in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban mainly.

As for the motivation for such an action, NGE has highlighted five main reasons in particular.

  1. Security – with many countries experiencing economic uncertainty, residents are now seeking ways for themselves and their families to find more viable options.
  2. Investment scope – a second citizenship provides more investment, trades and travel opportunities.
  3. Travel freedom – for the frequent business traveller, it can be a time-consuming and expensive process to apply for a visa.  Citizenship-by-Investment alleviates these challenges making business travel both a pleasure and a way to increase income.
  4. Tax relief – a zero percent corporate income tax rate and the benefit of other low rates within the country of choice makes dual or second citizenship a tempting option.
  5. Property – local property prices are very high with mortgage rates abroad generally stable and lower, making it easier to purchase a property.

Shape of things to come?

“Applicants apply because they are frequent travellers and a second citizenship makes travelling easier.  In addition to this, they are also troubled by the status of political and financial standing within their own country,” adds Heijsman.

With the ranking of the South African passport dropping two rungs recently, it looks even more citizens will be looking to invest or move abroad if they have the means, says NGE.

Hopefully though, this phenomenon will decrease in coming months and years, as it’s important for the future of the country that all its skilled talent and earning power remains local.

[Image – SA Visa]