The UAE is the top destination in the Middle East and ranked second globally after Australia, for migration of millionaires, the real-time barometer for the health of an economy, Henley & Partners, the global leader in residence and citizenship by investment, said in its latest report.
“Millionaires” or “high-net-worth individuals” (HNWIs) are those with investable wealth of $1 million or more. The countries that consistently attract affluent families through migration tend to be economically robust and usually have low crime rates and offer attractive business opportunities, the report said.
The top five destinations for net inflows of high-net-worth individuals in 2023 are projected to be Australia, the UAE, Singapore, the US, and Switzerland in that order. On the flip side, the largest net outflows of millionaires are expected to come from China, India, the UK, Russia, and Brazil.
The UK has traditionally been seen as one of the world’s top destinations for migrating millionaires and for many years (from 1980 to 2010) it consistently attracted large numbers of wealthy people from Africa, Asia, CIS, Europe, and the Middle East.
However, this trend began to reverse around six years ago as more millionaires left the country and fewer came in. Notably, during the period from 2017 to 2022 the UK has lost approximately 12,500 more HNWIs than it has gained through migration, and it is expected to lose another 3,200 HNWIs to migration in 2023.
Down Under Tops the List
The report said that Australia is expected to attract the highest net inflow of HNWIs in 2023. This large influx of the world’s wealthiest is nothing new. Australia consistently attracts sizeable numbers of millionaires every year, mainly from Asia and Africa, but more recently also from high-income countries such as the UK.
Approximately 82,000 HNWIs have moved to the kangaroo land over the past 20 years (2002 to 2022), and another 5,200 are expected to arrive in 2023.
These consistent large inflows are possibly linked to Australia’s points-based immigration system which favours wealthy individuals and those with professional qualifications (accountants, doctors, engineers, hi-tech professionals, and lawyers).
Coming to the UAE, the net inflow of millionaires into the Emirates is expected to be approximately 4,500 in 2023 — one of the highest on record. Pre-pandemic, the UAE traditionally saw net inflows of around 1,000 high-net-worths per year.
Most incoming millionaires into the UAE in 2023 are expected to come from India, with large numbers also coming from the UK, Russia, Lebanon, Pakistan, Turkey, Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria, Hong Kong, and China.
One of the main reasons for these millionaires being attracted to the Emirates is that Emirates is considered a haven in the Middle East and Africa region.
The UAE’s highly diversified economy, low tax rates, luxury hub, prime real estate, good international schools, world class health system and year-round leisure activities are among the other reasons for these HNWIs to make a home in the Emirates.
Besides, the UAE is strong in many key sectors including financial services, oil and gas, technology, and travel and tourism.
Along with Bermuda and Monaco, the UAE has the most competitive tax rates in the world. Its healthcare system is very good as many foreigners opt to be treated there. The shopping centres and restaurants add to the charm of the UAE.
Singapore is ranked third as it continues to attract wealthy individuals, mainly from the rest of Asia. A net inflow of approximately 3,200 high-net-worth individuals is expected in the city-state in 2023.
The US is expected to attract a net inflow of approximately 2,100 new HNWIs in 2023, mainly from Asia. Traditionally, most affluent people who move to the US are involved in the entertainment, financial services, and tech sectors. Successful tech start-up entrepreneurs often move to the US (Silicon Valley especially) to take their companies to the next level, the report said.
As far as Switzerland is concerned, despite recent issues with the Swiss banking system and specifically Credit Suisse, the country is projected to attract a net inflow of approximately 1,800 HNWIs in 2023.
Although lower than the net inflow last year, this shows that the country’s enduring appeal lives on. Switzerland is after all still one of the safest and best run countries on earth, and a great place to live, particularly for the super-wealthy, the report added.