They say money goes to where it’s well treated – it seems the same is true of people, especially those with the resources to do something about it.

The latest Henley Global Citizens Report suggests that 88,000 millionaires will change their country of residence during 2022. I’m not surprised, after the way in which freedoms were restricted during Banana Syndrome many of us have had pause for thought.

Do we really want to live in a country that so hastily switch from democracy to authoritarianism? Do we really want to be the suckers paying the highest taxes since World War II to fund the government’s economic incompetence?
The great news is that, unless you are involved in the day to day running of a brick and mortar business, the world is your oyster. And, in what will be an increasing trend towards lifestyle arbitrage, if you’re a person of financial means, countries are vying for your presence.

Whether it’s Citizenship by Investment, golden visa, digital nomad or entrepreneur visa, programmes are proliferating around the world and tens of thousands are responding. With the caveat that the benchmark is a not-too-challenging one million dollar net worth, the data gives a mix of outcomes which vary between the obvious and the surprising:

  • No surprise that 15,000 are leaving Russia, 10,000 leaving China, 3,000 leaving Hong Kong and 2,800 leaving Ukraine
  • Bizarre that 3,000 want to go to Australia and 800 to New Zealand after their behaviour during Banana Syndrome. Only Austria and Canada rank higher on my personal ‘Must To Avoid’ index
  • Interesting to see 8,000 leaving India despite the supposedly business-friendly Modi government
  • Brazil is also in the Hall of Shame with 2,500 packing their bags
  • 1,500 Brits are on the way out of the country, balanced by 1,300 joining me here in Portugal
  • Greece is attracting 1,200 new millionaires, perhaps tempted by its new fixed tax system
  • America only just beats Greece with 1,500 new arrivals, a tiny proportion relative to its population. Why would anyone choose to live under a regime run by a guy who has to be given a list of instructions for every meeting he attends?
  • Almost as hard to fathom as the Oz numbers are 1,000 heading for Trudeau’s Canada. My best guess is that these are Chinese or Hong Kong citizens looking for an equally authoritarian regime so they will feel at home.
  • I don’t have an obvious explanation for Israel’s attraction to 2,500 incoming millionaires, unless they are tech entrepreneurs or people who like having lots of medicines being injected into them
  • Finally, the ones that surprise me the least. Two thousand two hundred into secure, neutral and tax friendly Switzerland. 2,800 into warm and tax friendly Singapore (though again it was brutal in its restrictions so that would have given me reason to reflect) and the biggest movement of all, 4,000 into Dubai and the United Arab Emirates.

Making such a move is the result of a complex set of decisions which will vary for every person deciding where is right for them. How strong are family ties in your home country? Are your children still in the education system? Can your business be relocated or its management left to the operational team? What would be your tax position in the country you arrive into and in the country you leave?

I’m not saying it’s easy. I am saying it’s an essential discussion you should be having with yourself and those you care about. If 80,000 people of some financial means are uprooting themselves this year, doesn’t it behove you to at least ask the question and see where it takes you?

Until next time.
All the best