Every year, between 700 000 to 900 000 South Africans are leaving the country with most of those coming from Gauteng. Stuart Ferguson, Director of 12 Star Capital and Founder and CEO of American Dream that specialises in citizenship by investment programmes, provides an overview of what you need to consider if you’re serious about offshore investment and getting a ‘plan B’ passport for you and your loved ones.

Recent BrandMapp statistics show that roughly one in nine South Africans surveyed say that it is ‘very likely’ they would immigrate in the next five years. What is even more interesting is that half of all South African citizens are considering the move abroad – with 40% ranging between ‘unsure’ and ‘favouring a move abroad’. These stats are further reinforced by the fact that South Africa is now home to the lowest number of high net worth individuals it has recorded since 2008. So, chances are that if you’re reading this article, you’re likely to have the option of immigration on your mind.

This can leave you feeling overwhelmed by the many opportunities for foreign citizenship afforded to high net worth individuals. Many forward- thinking economies across the globe offer residency-by-investment programmes designed to court investors and attract foreign money, skills and entrepreneurial diversity. There are a variety of considerations you need to keep in mind when you are considering an alternative or acquiring that ‘plan B’ passport. Here’s what you need to ask yourself when weighing up your immigration options and selecting the country most suitable for you and your family’s needs.

READ MORE: Are semigrants to Cape Town driving a property sector recovery?

1. What is your objective ?

There are many reasons why people decide to immigrate. One popular motivation is security, whether it be personal, social, economic or financial certainty. Stable first-world countries with strong currencies, unbiased politics and fair opportunities for personal and financial growth are obvious choices for would-be immigrants keen to leave the instability of their home countries.

2. What is your budget?

Alternative residency & citizenship programmes require substantial financial outlay. Your investment cap or budget will determine whether your ‘plan B’ is America, Mauritius, Portugal, a Caribbean option or one of the many others with similar immigration schemes.

3. What benefits are important to you?
A commonly cited reason for immigration is to provide a better life for loved ones, including access to superior healthcare, education or career prospects. The conditions of immigration vary from programme to programme, although many do allow investors to bring their spouse and children with them. If this is a deal-breaker for you, it is imperative to understand the citizenship or residency benefits that each party is granted. Other benefits may include tax perks, visa free travel to other nations and hedging your
savings in a strong economy.

There are many opportunities available and there is a perfect country for you and your family’s needs and interests. Each has different cultures, foods, traditions and experiences and it is a very enriching experience when you find that perfect fit. Making the final decision can be difficult. It is advisable to work closely with professionals who have a good track record and knowledge about the inner workings around alternative residency & citizenship programmes to guide you along the way of what can be a complicated and exhaustive process.

“Now is a great time to be exploring these alternatives, the USA EB-5 programme has recently been re-authorised, with some new regulations that enhance the integrity of this visa category. We have also recently seen the EU parliament indicate that they may well phase out EU citizenship programmes by 2025. The landscape for alternative residency & citizenship programmes options is changing and if there’s ever a time to explore this option – it’s now,” says Ferguson.

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