Top 10 countries wealthy people choose to live in

January 9, 2021
Where do rich people most often move to - Melbourne, Australia
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People with $1 million or more are more likely to move to Australia, the US, Switzerland, Canada and Singapore. In 2020, immigration declined because of the pandemic, with many cosmopolitans postponing their move due to documentation problems and closed borders. We tell you what other countries wealthy people are choosing to live in and how to get in their company.

Where do wealthy people move to

The 10 countries of choice for wealthy people to live  in 2019 are featured in the Global Wealth Migration Review 2020 report. It was prepared by New World Wealth Analytics.

Top 10 countries where wealthy people moved to in 2019

Country Number of people
Australia 12 000
USA 10 800
Switzerland 4000
Canada 2200
Singapore 1500
Israel 1400
New Zealand 1400
UAE 1300
Portugal 1200
Greece 1100

Australia leads the way because of a points-based migration system. It gives an advantage to skilled professionals, business people and the wealthy.

Other reasons to move include low crime rates, well-developed health and education systems, and the level of economic growth and development. The tax system is also important: the rates are quite high, but there is no inheritance tax. The environment, climate, and low population density are also important to cosmopolitans.

English-speaking countries are popular – it is easier to integrate into society there. Business and wealth management opportunities are also important. For example, Switzerland and the US are major business and banking centres. Cosmopolitans tend to move to places where they store capital.

Portugal and Greece have made it to the top in large part because of the residence permit programmes for investment. They enable investors to relocate quickly or create a “back-up airfield”.

Monaco, Malta, Mauritius and the Caribbean did not make the top 10 but performed well. The Caribbean also has citizenship programmes for investment – they help wealthy people relocate, optimise taxes for business and travel.

In Malta it is possible to obtain citizenship by naturalisation for special merit in direct investment.

There are no statistics for 2020 yet. Researchers suggest that Australia, the US and Switzerland will remain at the top in the next decade. They also predict an increase in the popularity of New Zealand among the wealthy.

Moving with a second passport or residence permit - Portugal
Cascais, Portugal

Which countries do wealthy Russians choose to live in?

According to the Global Wealth Migration Review 2020 report, Russia is the 3rd most frequent destination for wealthy people. In 2019, 5,500 people with more than $1 million in wealth left the country. The researchers calculate that this is 6% of the total number of rich people in the country.

The UK attracts wealthy Russians with its sound banking and legal system, quality healthcare, business and educational opportunities. According to a 2019 Ernst&Young study, the country ranks 3rd in the number of tax residents from Russia.

The UK grants residence permits for business investments of £2m or more. In the third quarter of 2020, 17 Russians were granted this status. As a result, Russian citizens ranked 3rd in the number of statuses obtained under the UK residence permit programme.

Malta was ranked 2nd in 2019 for the number of tax residents from Russia by Ernst & Young. This is largely due to the residency and citizenship programmes for investment and tax incentives.

The Malta residence permit programme helps the wealthy people optimise their taxes and pay 15% on all income. An investor does not have to live in Malta to maintain the status. But one must spend at least 183 days a year in the country to receive tax benefits.

Real estate for residence permit in Malta for investment

To participate in the residence permit program in Malta, you must buy a property worth 220 000 € or rent at 8750 € per year. Suitable apartments in Marsascale: investors are offered flats with 2-3 bedrooms in a residential complex 500 meters from the sea. Prices start at 225,000 €

Real estate for residence permit in Malta for investment

To participate in the residence permit program in Malta, you must buy a property worth 220 000 € or rent at 8750 € per year. Suitable apartments in Marsascale: investors are offered flats with 2-3 bedrooms in a residential complex 500 meters from the sea. Prices start at 225,000 €

Real estate for residence permit in Malta for investment

To participate in the residence permit program in Malta, you must buy a property worth 220 000 € or rent at 8750 € per year. Suitable apartments in Marsascale: investors are offered flats with 2-3 bedrooms in a residential complex 500 meters from the sea. Prices start at 225,000 €

Real estate for residence permit in Malta for investment

To participate in the residence permit program in Malta, you must buy a property worth 220 000 € or rent at 8750 € per year. Suitable apartments in Marsascale: investors are offered flats with 2-3 bedrooms in a residential complex 500 meters from the sea. Prices start at 225,000 €

Real estate for residence permit in Malta for investment
Real estate for residence permit in Malta for investment
Real estate for residence permit in Malta for investment
Real estate for residence permit in Malta for investment

Cyprus was the leader in 2019 in terms of the number of Russian tax residents according to Ernst &Young research. Its popularity is likely to go down due to the closure of the citizenship for investment programme.

Portugal attracts wealthy Russians with its low crime rate, pleasant climate and beautiful scenery. The country has been voted Europe’s most comfortable holiday destination by the World Travel Awards.

Russian citizens actively use the residence permit programme in Portugal for investment. In 2020, its popularity has increased: between January and July, Russians received 69% more visas than during the same period in 2019.

Real estate for a residence permit in Portugal for investment

The most popular option for a residence permit programme in Portugal for investment is the purchase of residential property from 500,000 €. It is possible to buy such an apartment in a building under construction in the centre of Lisbon. The residential complex will have a gym, an indoor swimming pool and parking with charging facilities for electric cars. There is a clinic, school and university close by. Flats are available from €588,000 for 1-4 bedrooms and priced from €588,000

Real estate for a residence permit in Portugal for investment

The most popular option for a residence permit programme in Portugal for investment is the purchase of residential property from 500,000 €. It is possible to buy such an apartment in a building under construction in the centre of Lisbon. The residential complex will have a gym, an indoor swimming pool and parking with charging facilities for electric cars. There is a clinic, school and university close by. Flats are available from €588,000 for 1-4 bedrooms and priced from €588,000

Real estate for a residence permit in Portugal for investment

The most popular option for a residence permit programme in Portugal for investment is the purchase of residential property from 500,000 €. It is possible to buy such an apartment in a building under construction in the centre of Lisbon. The residential complex will have a gym, an indoor swimming pool and parking with charging facilities for electric cars. There is a clinic, school and university close by. Flats are available from €588,000 for 1-4 bedrooms and priced from €588,000

Real estate for a residence permit in Portugal for investment

The most popular option for a residence permit programme in Portugal for investment is the purchase of residential property from 500,000 €. It is possible to buy such an apartment in a building under construction in the centre of Lisbon. The residential complex will have a gym, an indoor swimming pool and parking with charging facilities for electric cars. There is a clinic, school and university close by. Flats are available from €588,000 for 1-4 bedrooms and priced from €588,000

Real estate for a residence permit in Portugal for investment

The most popular option for a residence permit programme in Portugal for investment is the purchase of residential property from 500,000 €. It is possible to buy such an apartment in a building under construction in the centre of Lisbon. The residential complex will have a gym, an indoor swimming pool and parking with charging facilities for electric cars. There is a clinic, school and university close by. Flats are available from €588,000 for 1-4 bedrooms and priced from €588,000

Real estate for a residence permit in Portugal for investment
Real estate for a residence permit in Portugal for investment
Real estate for a residence permit in Portugal for investment
Real estate for a residence permit in Portugal for investment
Real estate for a residence permit in Portugal for investment

The residence permit programme in Portugal is largely popular because of the possibility of obtaining citizenship after 5 years of residency. It is not necessary to live in the country – it is enough to maintain the status. Newborn children of investors can obtain citizenship immediately if they are born in Portugal and one parent has obtained a residence permit for at least a year.

Greece is also popular with Russians. To move, cosmopolitans participate in the residence permit programme for investment. Recently, the country’s government has been trying to attract more wealthy people – for example, by giving them tax breaks.

Switzerland is popular because of its comfortable business and living conditions. It has a low crime rate, good medical care, good educational opportunities for children and a secure banking system. 

Cosmopolitans from Russia can apply for a residence permit in Switzerland for financially independent persons. This status does not entitle the holder to work or conduct business in the country, but it allows to relocate.

How to move abroad quickly

How to move abroad quickly

In order to settle in another country, you have to obtain a residence permit and then citizenship. The easiest and fastest way to take part in the investment programme: the new status can be obtained in a few months.

Europe. Some European countries offer cosmopolitans a residence permit for investment. Such a status can be obtained in Portugal, Spain, Greece and Malta. It allows the investor to live in the country but does not oblige them to do so.

Another option is a residence permit for financially independent persons. This is offered by Switzerland and Austria. With this status, you have to spend at least 183 days a year in the country.

Montenegro offers cosmopolitans citizenship for investment. It is only possible to move to this country with it. The tax system here is attractive – the personal income tax rate is only 9%. In addition, Montenegro is a candidate for EU accession in 2025.

A Maltese passport offers a wide range of possibilities: it can be used to move to any country in the European Union. You do not need a residence permit. There are no restrictions on activities – you can study, work, run a business.

To obtain a residence permit in Europe takes 3-10 months, a passport to Malta – from 1 year.  Montenegro passport is issued on average in 6 months.

The US offers investors either EB5 or E2 visas. Only the first option, the EB5 immigration visa, is available to Russians. To get it, one has to invest from $900,000. It will take at least a year and a half because of the waiting list.

A quicker and less expensive option is the E2 visa. It is a non-immigrant visa, so it does not lead to a residence permit or citizenship. However, it is possible to move within 2-5 months. There is no minimum investment threshold, but an investment from $200,000 is recommended. An important condition: the investor runs the company and stays in the country as long as the company is profitable.

The E2 visa is only issued to nationals of countries that have a treaty with the US. Russia does not have one, but Grenada does – it is possible to obtain a second passport for investment.

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