As debate over immigration rages in Europe and border lockdowns polarize the U.S., one group of migrants is increasingly mobile: millionaires.
The idea of a global jet set is a well worn one, but a new study cited by the New York Times on Saturday showed that in 2016 a record 82,000 millionaires relocated to another country. Incentivized by an array of investor visa programs, their red-carpet reception contrasts sharply with that of refugees fleeing conflict and economic ruin.
Although 82,000 is only a tiny fraction of the estimated 13.6 millionaires globally, the numbers—which were compiled by market research firm New World Wealth—constituted a 28% jump on 2015’s figures. They point to an acceleration of a rich borderless class able to cherrypick its country of citizenship, school choice, and financial domicile.
“The wealthy today don’t have a country,” Reaz H. Jafri, a partner Withers Worldwide, which helps the wealthy relocate, told the Times. He continued: “They don’t view their success as being related or dependent on a single country, but on their own business strategies. It’s amazing to me how many of the very wealthy are going totally mobile.”
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According to New World Wealth—which defined millionaires as those with over $1million in assets not including their primary residence—millionaire migration has undergone 60% growth since 2013. The firm’s head, Andrew Amoils, told the Times he expected to see more than 100,000 millionaires moving annually within the next two to three years.
Australia—which introduced a “golden-ticket” investor visa program in 2012—was reportedly the destination of choice for the world’s migrating millionaires in 2016, with an estimated 11,000 relocating to the country. Some 10,000 millionaires moved to the U.S., and Canada come in third with 8,000 new millionaire immigrants.