Most South Africans still view British passports as desirable because that country is seen as a safe harbour for families and wealth. Pic Supplied

The number of British citizens applying for second passports in European Union member states has skyrocketed in a bid to retain the freedom to study, work, and live in those countries after Brexit, but high net-worth South Africans, in contrast, are seeking U.K. passports.

Most South Africans still view British passports as desirable because that country is seen as a safe harbour for families and wealth, according to multi-faceted global financial solutions provider Geneva Management Group (GMG).

High net-worth South Africans, in particular, are primarily driven by political and economic uncertainty, GMG managing director Sean Gaskell said.

“Political uncertainty is a crucial factor, especially in emerging markets, where high net-worth individuals are often based in jurisdictions where there is a large disparity in wealth,” he said.

While tax was not a particularly big driver for seeking out second passports globally, it was a motivator for South Africans, particularly those “who take the view that they receive nothing in return for the taxes they pay”, said Gaskell.

Many South African high net-worth individuals were also making use of golden visa programmes in countries such as Portugal and Malta, which rewarded them with permanent residency in return for the purchase of a property or investment.

Portugal, for example, has one option where a minimum real estate investment of 500,000 euros (R7.9 million) is required.

- African News Agency (ANA), Editing by Stella Mapenzauswa