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Residence and Citizenship by Investment

Unlocking Opportunity for African Families

Tess Wilkinson

Tess Wilkinson

Tess Wilkinson is Director of Education Services at Henley & Partners.

It is a known and well-established fact that investing in a first-class education for your children is one of the best ways to provide them with an advantage that would assure them opportunities in life, both in terms of earnings and career advancement. However, while education is certainly a valuable asset, the past few decades have shown that wealthy African families are becoming much more accustomed to multi-jurisdictional lifestyles, thus requiring ease of access to multiple destinations, along with the right to live, work, and study in those places. Ensuring long-term access to all the jurisdictions important to one’s family, and by extension the opportunities that can be realized within them, is the key focus of investment migration and an important wealth strategy for the next generation of African millionaires.

Measuring and evaluating opportunities

The Henley Opportunity Index is a tool developed specifically to quantify the enormous impact that world-class education combined with expanded access and privileges through investment migration can have in preserving multi-generational wealth. The index guides families on tailored investment migration strategies to clear pathways for their heirs to access the world’s best schooling, most lucrative job markets, and enhanced quality of life through the privileges and flexibility of alternative residence or citizenship rights.

Two students hugging on graduation day

Utilizing the comparison tool can distinctly showcase the difference in six crucial parameters that combine to form a country’s opportunity score. With the clearly quantified, systemic approach, it becomes apparent that securing access rights to different jurisdictions by pursuing investment migration delivers much more than simply a residence or citizenship of one country – rather, it provides a comprehensive improvement of circumstances and advantages for the individual, their family, and even the next generations yet to come.

How African students can expand their economic mobility

Take the case of a Nigerian family whose children wish to pursue higher education in the USA, where a four-year degree at a prestigious university could cost up to USD 250,000. While the degree and knowledge they graduate with is of immense value, if they do not have assured residence rights and instead rely on a student visa followed by sponsored employment to enable them to stay in the US post-graduation, there is a significant chance that the children would have to return home to Nigeria. Gaining US residence rights via the US EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program requires a minimum investment of USD 800,000, which ensures that graduates can live and work in the country, without the added pressure of securing a job. Moreover, considering the fact that the children’s earning potential increases four times and their economic mobility a staggering 36 times by acquiring residence (and citizenship after five years) in the US alongside the already attained premium education, the one-time investment is more than justified.

Consider also the case of a South African family whose child intends to study in New Zealand. Residents of New Zealand enjoy an outstanding quality of life, a reasonable cost of living, a safe environment, and a wide range of job opportunities, especially for such a remote country. An expansion of several industries is underway, including consulting, hospitality, sales, and tourism, all of which require highly qualified professionals to fill these spaces. Even though it is not a traditional choice for higher education, New Zealand boasts five universities in the global top 250, a significant feat for a small country. A three-year bachelor’s degree costs about NZD 100,000, a comparatively lower amount than many institutions of the same quality and prestige elsewhere. Should a South African family pursue relocation to New Zealand through the New Zealand Residence by Investment Program, for a NZD 5 million investment, their economic mobility would rise by four times and employment prospects would almost double. Considering the timeline to citizenship eligibility after five years, with sufficient planning, the child could graduate with a prestigious degree as well as a passport that would allow visa-free or visa-on-arrival access to over 80 more destinations across the globe compared to their existing South African passport, enabling them to pursue a truly global lifestyle.

For a final illustration, should Namibian family opt for education in Spain for their children, they could couple the top education it offers with the Spain Residence by Investment Program, where the investment requirement is EUR 500,000. Considering a well-defined route to citizenship that comes after a set residence period, and especially the extensive opportunities that arise due to their ability to live, work, and study across the European Union as Spanish citizens, it is an investment well worth making. A comparison of advantages gained by obtaining Spanish access rights is easily seen in the huge jumps in scores for career advancement (from 4 to 60), employment prospects (18 to 63), and most significantly economic mobility with an astounding leap from 9 to 93. It is worth also noting that the property asset purchased for the purposes of obtaining residence rights also carries multiple other benefits as an investment in its own right.

Breadth of options and opportunities

Internationally mobile African elites are spoiled for choice when it comes to education destinations, and Henley & Partners Education can advise affluent families throughout the continent on far more than the above-listed jurisdictions.

The global hubs of opportunity are spread across the world, from well-established expat destinations such as Canada, the UK, and the US, over to Europe’s Austria, Greece, and Spain, to the new emerging hubs of the Middle East, to as far as Singapore and Hong Kong. Fortunately, all of these countries offer an investment migration route, which allows wealthy African families an array of opportunities for the next generation to study, live, work, and invest in countries of their choice.

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Henley & Partners assists international clients in obtaining residence and citizenship under the respective programs. Contact us to arrange an initial private consultation.


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