SA's super rich taking their wealth overseas ASAP - immigration expert

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In the current economic climate, South Africans are hedging their bets by investing abroad and by acquiring a second citizenship or residency overseas at an unprecedented rate, according to Andrew Rissik, group commercial director at Sable International.                             

Sable has seen a 70% increase in enquiries and 45% increase in clients over the past year.

Rissik says South African high-net worth individuals are "internationalising" themselves, their wealth, and often their businesses as fast as they can. He mentions various reasons.

"The reasons vary tremendously, from concerns about our country's policies, to wanting to school children abroad, to wanting to diversify their investments offshore or simply wanting to travel more easily without challenging travel visa requirements – they want to become global citizens," says Rissik.  

In his view, the current top residency and citizenship options range from citizenship by investment programmes in Grenada, Cyprus or Malta, to the EB-5 investment visa in the US, to the popular range of options for Australia, Portugal and the UK.

"There are complex tax, wealth and money transfer implications involved in most of the deals, but many offer both a beautiful environment and a safe haven for investment," he says.

If one is planning on relocating, review the tax implications and exchange control regulations before you make your move, he advises.

"You need plan how and when you access and transfer your financial assets and if you need to financially emigrate or not," says Rissik.

"Most people have to understand how to buy or rent property, open bank accounts, understand the tax laws and other fiscal implications.

"You need to do your homework or you'll have a nightmare."

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