A new report by global leader in residence and citizenship planning, Henley & Partners, reveals that there is a massive surge of South Africans that have shown interest in emigrating in the last six months.

According to their data, there has been a noticeable increase in enquiries for emigration across the world.

“The massive volatility driven by Covid-19 has pushed the steady growth in investment migration into overdrive, with a nearly 50% increase in enquiries overall as the pandemic coursed around the globe in the six months to June 2020 compared to the same period last year,” they explain.

Indian nationals made the most enquiries within the last six months. Nigerian nationals came in second place, followed by Pakistan and the United States. In terms of quarterly growth in the numbers of enquiries between Q1 and Q2 2020, the sharpest rise was seen in Nigeria with an astonishing 185% increase in enquiries between the first two quarters. There has been a 48% increase from South African nationals.

“While the surge in interest shown by citizens of emerging economies such as India and Nigeria is somewhat predictable, a fascinating turn of events is the growing attention from nationals of leading developed nations. Most notable is America, with a dramatic 100% increase in enquiries from US citizens in the first six months of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, along with significantly greater interest shown by Canadians and UK citizens.”

Henley & Partners CEO Dr. Juerg Steffen explains this interest is brought on by the tumultuous year 2020 has been, forcing many to re-evaluate their circumstances and reconsider how they live their lives.

  • Dr Steffen said: “Many are taking stock and ensuring they are better prepared for the next pandemic or major global disruption. The relentless volatility in terms of both wealth and lifestyle has resulted in a significant shift in how alternative residence and citizenship are perceived by high-net-worth investors around the world.

“As a tried-and-tested hedge against volatility, securing alternative residence or citizenship is one of the safest, smartest, most sustainable investments you can make right now — an indispensable asset for many generations to come.”

The countries most popular as emigration destinations include Austria, Montenegro, St. Lucia, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

Commenting in the recently released Henley Passport Index Q3 Report, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Tel Aviv University in Israel, Prof. Dr. Yossi Harpaz, says the Covid-19 crisis has caused the world’s premium passports to lose some of their shine.

“For decades, visa policies were designed to keep out illegal immigrants, asylum seekers, and terrorists. Citizens of wealthy and democratic countries — including Canada, the US, and Western European nations — apparently posed no such risks and enjoyed extensive visa-free travel throughout the world. In the current crisis, a new category of risk has emerged: the spreader.

“Since the US and Western Europe were among the world’s hardest hit areas, their citizens faced stringent mobility restrictions. This is, of course, a temporary situation, but in the long run it is likely to erode the prestige of EU and Western passports,” predicts Prof. Harpaz.

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