Citizenship-by-Investment is on the rise across the world with over R2.4 billion spent each year. Photo: IOL
DURBAN - Citizenship-by-Investment is on the rise across the world with over R2.4 billion spent each year derived mostly from China, the Middle East, and Russia, with South Africa not far behind.

According to Next Generation Equity (NGE), global specialists in second citizenships and residency options, South Africa is increasing at an alarming rate. 

Paul Heijsman, Head of Sales at NGE said, "Recent media reports highlight an increase in applications by a staggering rate of 229% since 2017.  “And, the number continues to grow with our head-office inundated with applications".

Defined as citizenship granted to an individual or immediate family on the basis that they invest into the country, NGE notes the application age to lean heavily towards the 40+ mark. Families from South African cities like Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban regions, with a small amount of retirees and farmers now applying for second citizenship. 

"Over the past 25 years we have seen our fair share of client success stories, and they generally boil-down to the same rationales," said Heijsman. 

Here are five reasons why South Africans are applying for Citizenship-by-Investment according to NGE:

1. Security - with many countries experiencing turmoil, residents are now looking for ways for themselves and their families to find relief and safety.

2. Investment Scope - a second citizenship offers more investment, trades and travel opportunities.

3. Travel Freedom - for the frequent business traveller, it can be a time-consuming and expensive process to apply for a visa.  Citizenship-by-Investment eases these challenges allowing business travel to be both a pleasure and a way to increase income.

4. Tax Relief - a 0% corporate income tax rate and the benefit of other low rates within the country of choice, make dual or second citizenship the perfect reason.

5. Property – local property prices are very high with mortgage rates abroad generally stable and lower, making it easier to purchase a property.

“Applicants apply because they are frequent travellers and a second citizenship makes travelling easier.  In addition to this, they are also troubled by the status of political and financial standing within their own country,” says Heijsman. The South African numbers have increased drastically over the last year because the main criteria in eligibility is financial, “if a South African has the means, then they will most likely be approved.”