Wealthy eye greener pas­tures over­seas

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - NEWS - BULELWA PAYI

SOME South Africans want­ing to re­tire, and who can af­ford to, are in­creas­ingly look­ing at over­seas destinations to make a home, ac­cord­ing to Jac­ques Scher­man, of Ar­ton Cap­i­tal, a global com­pany which spe­cialises in help­ing clients to ob­tain sec­ond cit­i­zen­ships.

Scher­man said while some wanted a pass­port that en­abled them to travel the world eas­ily, oth­ers were cyn­i­cal about the fu­ture of the coun­try and wanted to se­cure a pre­dictable one for their chil­dren and grand­chil­dren.

Oth­ers were con­cerned about pre­serv­ing their wealth in sta­ble currencies to “max­imise suc­ces­sion plan­ning and hedge the fi­nan­cial risks in­her­ent to hold­ing as­sets in rand”.

He said since the cur­rent po­lit­i­cal ad­min­is­tra­tion had taken over there had been an in­creased in­ter­est in at­tain­ing sec­ond ci­ti­zen­ship in ex­change for in­vest­ment in Euro­pean coun­tries such as Por­tu­gal, Malta, Cyprus, Bul­garia and the Car­ib­bean is­lands.

“Ninety-per­cent do not want to em­i­grate but want to have a safe plan should the sit­u­a­tion get worse.”

He said the fi­nan­cial bar­ri­ers to at­tain­ing sec­ond cit­i­zen­ships for re­tirees were also low­er­ing.

“Sec­ond ci­ti­zen­ship by in­vest­ment is no longer the pre­serve of the su­per-rich. ”

“For ex­am­ple, Gre­na­dian ci­ti­zen­ship for the main ap­pli­cant, spouse and two de­pen­dants can be pur­chased via a do­na­tion of $200 000 (R2.73 mil­lion) to Gre­nada’s Na­tional Trans­for­ma­tion Fund,” he said.

The ben­e­fits in­cluded the speedy ap­pli­ca­tion process – around three months, com­pared with years for some other destinations, no phys­i­cal res­i­dency re­quire­ments and visa-free travel to more than 100 coun­tries in­clud­ing those in Europe’s Shen­gen zone. And, there is no re­quire­ment for a busi­ness in­ter­est.

For younger re­tirees with an en­tre­pre­neur­ial bent, hav­ing Gre­na­dian ci­ti­zen­ship en­ables en­try into the US with an E-2 In­vestor Visa which al­lows in­di­vid­u­als to re­side and work in the US pro­vided that there is an in­vest­ment un­der their con­trol.

Scher­man said to em­i­grate di­rectly to the US, it would cost about $1m and there could be an eight-year wait­ing pe­riod and sub­stan­tial amounts of pa­per­work and ad­min­is­tra­tion.

He said while over­seas coun­tries were rolling out a red car­pet to South Africans to in­vest in their coun­tries, South Africa was mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for for­eign­ers to in­vest here.

A Cape Town-based law firm practising in the field of im­mi­gra­tion and per­ma­nent res­i­dency, Craig Smith & As­so­ci­ates, said it re­ceived many en­quiries from South Africans wish­ing to move abroad.

The most pop­u­lar destinations are Aus­tralia, the US, UK and New Zealand.

“The US is con­sid­ered to be the high­light and the in­vest­ment is nor­mally part of a state-funded project in prop­erty and is cur­rently at $500 000 and the cheap­est destinations are just over $100 000,” said the com­pany’s Craig Smith.

He added that South Africans who had fam­ily ties abroad would first ex­haust those links be­fore pay­ing their way into ci­ti­zen­ship pro­grammes.

How­ever, South Africa, re­gard­less of its chal­lenges, was an at­trac­tive des­ti­na­tion for for­eign­ers who wished to re­tire, Smith said.

“It is quite of­ten that prop­er­ties pur­chased over the R30m range are bought by for­eign­ers and this is an in­valu­able con­tri­bu­tion into our econ­omy.”

How­ever, there was a short­age of busi­ness in­vestors and pro­fes­sion­als with ad­vanced skills who wanted to come to South Africa for work be­cause of the com­plex­ity of the coun­try’s im­mi­gra­tion laws and the need to ap­ply from out­side of the coun­try.

Gre­na­dian ci­ti­zen­ship can be bought for R2.73m

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