High Net Worth individuals are considering other countries to set their roots down in instead of South Africa.
One of the major influencing their decision is the country’s political and economical stability according to Arton Capital.
Speaking to Independent Media Travel, Jacques Scherman, chief executive of Arton Capital said they are receiving more requests from clients that approach them wanting to leave the country.
Through their services as a financial advisory firm, Arton Capital specialises in assisting clients with investor programmes for residence and citizenships abroad.
Underpinning this move however, is the desire for most of these individuals to be more of a citizen of the globe, something that Scherman describes as being symptomatic of the times.
“The world we live in is very mobile. People are travelling more and seeking out opportunities globally that previously would not have been traditionally available. So these people become global citizens- they are citizens of the world as opposed to someone who takes a narrow approach to where he belongs,” Scherman said.
Scherman said however that it was increasingly difficult to simply move to another country-as the entry requirements may be difficult to deal with, which is where Arton Capital comes in.
“It’s not an easy thing to do (getting a second citizenship). In some countries it requires a substantial investment, in others a specific skills set,” Scherman explained.
“That’s why companies like Arton Capital exist because there is a huge and growing demand for citizenship of various countries. It’s unfortunate that some people are born in countries where the passport as a travel document does not do much for you, which makes it difficult to travel or find new business opportunities. That’s where we are involved,” he added.
Scherman added that the demographics of people seeking other countries were White and Indian men predominantly, in their 40s upwards.
Recently, Arton Capital was involved in conducting a survey that deals with the ranking of passports from various parts of the world. Titled the Passport Index, it ranks the most desirable passport in terms of the number of countries in the world that your passport will enable you to access, without the need for a visa.
Arton Capital's Chief Executive Jacques Scherman. Photo: Supplied
In this ranking, at the time of writing this story, the German and Singaporean passports were the most valuable, in that they allowed you access to 159 countries without needing a Visa. Close behind that were the Danish and Swedish passports at 158. South Africa is ranked at 47, with the passport giving you access to 93 countries without needing a visa.
Scherman said the purpose of setting up an interactive site for the Passport Index was to help people get acquainted with the rules, advantages and disadvantages of being a citizen of a specific country when it comes to travelling.
“The whole point of this was to get people involved and to let them know how powerful or how weak their passport actually is in terms of international travel and for other countries to come and visit here”, he said.
Scherman added: “Last I checked our passport could give you access to 93 countries and that’s not very much. Because to access those countries that have been included in that number, you must go through other destinations. So travelling on a South African passport is not very fun. And given our status in the world, it should be much better.”
The factors that Arton looked at when compiling the index were how many countries can that document allow you access to without needing a visa before hand.
“It changes constantly because countries sign new agreements all the time. The rankings don’t stay the same for a long time,” he said.
Scherman believes the way to go for South Africa would be to fix the policies that make SA un-travel friendly.
“There have been moves, I believe it was through Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at the African Union who promoted that there be an arrangement with southern African countries to allow residents to the countries to travel freely through these territories, something like a Schengen Area. In that sense there's been progress, but on a worldwide global scale we’ve not seen much changes.”
“You’ve got a situation where we now need a visa to go through N ew Zealand which wasn’t the case originally. If you travel through an airport in the UK you need a transit visa. It’s becoming harder for South Africans to travel,” Scherman said.
Scherman said while he could not speculate on the reasons why other countries were making it harder to travel to them on a South African passport, he mentioned it was something to look at.
For more information on the passport index visit: https://www.passportindex.org/