Wealth

China, India, Russia: These Are The Countries Wealthy People Are Leaving  

Follow the trail of migrating HNWIs.
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In the Philippines, lower and middle class individuals dream of working and living abroad in hopes of better economic prospects. Poverty and lack of opportunities are the common reasons Filipinos seek to emigrate, but it appears even the upper class eye leaving their home countries for reasons other than opportunities.

According to a study by AfrAsia Bank, millionaires from countries of differing economies are seeking citizenship and residency in countries that aren’t their homeland. And the home country leading the group? China. According to AfrAsia Bank, China’s millionaires make up the biggest group of high net worth individuals (HNWI) emigrating from their country. Over 16,000 millionaires with net worths between $1 million and $9.9 million, chose to leave China and reside elsewhere, dropping China’s HNWI population by two percent.

Millionaires from India make up the second biggest group of emigrating HNWIs with 7,000 moving abroad, while Russia came in third at 5,500. Other territories of origin with large emigrating wealthy populations of at least 1,000 people are: Hong Kong, Turkey, U.K., France, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, and Indonesia.

Other countries with a notably large emigrating HNWI group are: Mexico, Malaysia, South Africa, Argentina, Iran, Thailand, Qatar, Vietnam, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ukraine, Lebanon, Venezuela—and the Philippines.

While it might just seem like a “rich people leaving developing countries” narrative, the causes of wealth migration paint a more complicated story. Wealth migration has historically indicated the health of economies, says AfrAsia Bank. In poor, struggling, or unstable economies, the rich are often the first people to leave as they have the money and the opportunity to do so.

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Some causes of wealth migration could be: lack of business opportunities, poor ease of doing business, corruption, government oppression, political instability, high taxes, sanctions, embargos, and trade wars. Russia, Iran, and Qatar are prime examples of countries losing HNWIs due to too many sanctions and embargos to deal with. Of course, HNWIs can also seek migration for personal reasons like improving standard of living, education, family ties, and the like.

So where are all these HNWIs going?

Just as struggling or unstable economies detract HNWIs, healthy economies attract them. Australia is currently the top country of preference for HNWIs, having welcomed over 12,000 in 2019 alone. The U.S. came in second with 10,800. Switzerland, Canada, Singapore, Israel, New Zealand, U.A.E., Portugal, Greece follow with new HNWIs ranging from 4,000 to 1,000 in number.

Aside from being OECD countries with booming economies and high standards of living, the countries above have one or more of the following things in common: healthier political landscapes, more business opportunities, ease of doing business, lower taxes, better education system, and better healthcare, just to name a few.

A number of the countries above also have efficient investor visa programs that welcome HNWIs in return for investing in businesses, encouraging entrepreneurship, and the like.

If you want to know where the best places to live and work are, just follow the trail of migrating HNWIs.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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