Australia a leading destination for migrant millionaires

29 May 2019 3 min. read
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Australia has openly welcomed twelve thousand special category migrants in 2018 – those who are classed as millionaires.

Australia has topped the list as the number one destination worldwide for migrating millionaires according to the latest Global Wealth Migration Review from market research consultancy New World Wealth, with 12,000 such high-net wealth individuals (HNWIs) making their way to Australian shores in 2018 alone. It is the fourth consecutive year that Australia has ranked first on the global list – adding more than 35,000 wealthy new residents over that time.

Featuring a notably smaller population, Australia again landed ahead of the US on the global wish-list, which with 10,000 new HNWI’ arrivals also saw far greater inflows than the third and fourth-ranked destinations of Canada and Switzerland, with a respective 4,000 and 3,000 wealthy individuals added. The UAE and Caribbean followed with 2,000 apiece, while a number of nations including New Zealand welcomed 1,000 affluent migrants.

In terms of outflows, with the report clocking more than 100,000 mobile millionaires last year (up 14 percent on 2017 figures), the largest high wealth exodus was from China, which waved goodbye to 15,000 of its rich, or two percent of its overall tally, while Russia, India and Turkey saw the departure of upwards of 4,000 HNWIs each – the latter losing one tenth of its wealthy elite in a single year as the local economy took a major dive.

Countries ranked by HNWI net inflows

Meanwhile, Australia has added 3 percent to its HNWI tally, not that a million dollars alone will get one far in Australia nowadays, with median house prices in Sydney – among the popular destinations for settling millionaires, together with Melbourne, the Sunshine and Gold Coasts, Brisbane and Perth – remaining above $1 million. But in comparing the popularity of Australia over the second placed US, New World Wealth cites several potential factors.

Among these are Australia’s safety rating – named number one for women in a separate New World Wealth report, despite a number of recent high-profile violent fatalities committed against women and growing awareness around significant local domestic abuse rates – and the nation’s first-class healthcare system, which, notwithstanding the wealth of the individuals concerned, is far cheaper and more accessible compared to the one of the US.

Also noted was the absence of an inheritance tax in Australia – another topical issue, with false social media claims the contesting Labor party intended to introduce one cited as a possible major factor in its surprise recent Federal election loss – whereas individuals with wealth of over $5.5 million in the US are subject to an ‘estate’ tax, and at rates of as much as 40 percent in the top bracket. Here, the authors suggest Australia is then an attractive base from which to continue building wealth for future generations.

Still, according to the research and consulting firm, the local political landscape may soon have a different bearing on the number of migrating millionaires. “Going forward, we expect growing kick-back against immigration in these two countries,” the authors state with respect to Australia and the US. “It is possible that in an effort to stop general immigration into these two countries, their governments may also deter HNWI (high net-worth individuals) immigration.”

Altogether, the report pegs the number of HNWIs now living in Australia at nearly 370,000 (the seventh-most of any nation), with 35 of those assessed as billionaires among the 2,140 worldwide.  This figure closely corresponds with data from an earlier global wealth report from professional services firm PwC, which noted the number of billionaires in Australia and New Zealand had grown by nine in 2017 – and by more than 100 across the Asia Pacific region.