Andrew Amoils is Head of Research at New World Wealth
Millionaire migration figures can be a telling real-time barometer for the health of an economy as wealthy people are extremely mobile and they therefore tend to be the first to move when the need arises. The countries that consistently attract affluent families through migration tend to be economically robust and usually have low crime rates and offer attractive business opportunities.
The top five destinations for net inflows of high-net-worth individuals in 2023 are projected to be Australia, the UAE, Singapore, the USA, and Switzerland. On the flip side, the largest net outflows of millionaires are expected to come from China, India, the UK, Russia, and Brazil.
Australia is expected to attract the highest net inflow of high-net-worth individuals in 2023. This large influx of the world’s wealthiest is nothing new. Australia consistently attracts sizeable numbers of millionaires every year, mainly from Asia and Africa, but more recently also from high-income countries such as the UK.
Approximately 82,000 high-net-worth individuals have moved to Australia over the past 20 years (2002 to 2022), and another 5,200 are expected to arrive in 2023.
These consistently large inflows are possibly linked to Australia’s points-based immigration system which favors wealthy individuals and those with professional qualifications (accountants, doctors, engineers, hi-tech professionals, and lawyers).
Other possible reasons for Australia’s popularity among migrating millionaires:
A net inflow of approximately 4,500 millionaires is expected in the UAE in 2023 — one of the highest on record. Pre-pandemic, the UAE traditionally saw net inflows of around 1,000 high-net-worths per year.
Most incoming millionaires in 2023 are expected to come from India, with large numbers also coming from the UK, Russia, Lebanon, Pakistan, Turkey, Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria, Hong Kong, and China.
The many reasons millionaires are drawn to the Emirates include:
Singapore continues to attract wealthy individuals, mainly from the rest of Asia. A net inflow of approximately 3,200 high-net-worth individuals is expected in the city-state in 2023.
Singapore is the top wealth management center in Asia and one of the number one hubs for family offices globally. This is a major drawcard as, over time, often wealthy people gravitate to where their money is held.
A large number of tech entrepreneurs have made the move to Singapore over the past few years, which is an encouraging sign as the city-state positions itself to rival Tokyo and Shenzhen to become the “Silicon Valley of Asia”.
America is expected to attract a net inflow of approximately 2,100 new high-net-worth individuals in 2023, mainly from Asia. Traditionally, most affluent people who move to the USA are involved in the entertainment, financial services, and tech sectors. In particular, successful tech start-up entrepreneurs often move to the USA (Silicon Valley especially) to take their companies to the next level.
Despite recent issues with the Swiss banking system and specifically Credit Suisse, Switzerland is still projected to attract a net inflow of approximately 1,800 high-net-worth individuals in 2023. Although lower than the net inflow last year, this shows that the country’s enduring appeal lives on. Switzerland is after all still one of the safest and best run countries on earth, and a great place to live, particularly for the super-wealthy.
The UK has traditionally been seen as one of the world’s top destinations for migrating millionaires and for many years (from 1980 to 2010) it consistently attracted large numbers of wealthy people from Africa, Asia, CIS, Europe, and the Middle East.
However, this trend began to reverse around six years ago as more millionaires left the country and fewer came in. Notably, during the period from 2017 to 2022 the UK has lost approximately 12,500 more high-net-worth individuals than it has gained through migration, and it is expected to lose another 3,200 millionaires to migration in 2023.
Possible reasons for the ongoing exodus include:
Despite the overall outflow, it should be noted that some smaller affluent towns in the UK have been gaining wealth over the past five years. They include:
These eight towns are becoming increasingly popular among the super-wealthy centi-millionaire cohort — those with over USD 100 million in investable wealth.
The Cotswolds is also gaining in popularity among this cohort. This area has of course been a popular second home hotspot for London centi-millionaires for many decades, but more recently many have moved there permanently.
China continues to lose large numbers of millionaires to migration. General wealth growth in the country has been slowing over the past few years, which means that the recent outflows could be more damaging than usual.
China’s economy grew strongly from 2000 to 2017, but wealth and millionaire growth in the country has been negligible since then (when measured in US-dollar terms).
In particular, the banning of Huawei 5G by several major markets (USA, UK, and Australia) appears to have been a major blow for China, as much of the country’s future growth plan was based around its hi-tech sector. Although just one company, Huawei was the crown jewel of this sector and many other local companies were linked to it. China’s overall plan to move away from being a component manufacturer and towards finished products was also damaged by this ban.
The coronavirus fallout has also harmed China’s relations with several major trading partners over the past couple of years (especially Australia and the USA), as has the status of Hong Kong and Taiwan.
‘Millionaires’ or ‘high-net-worth individuals’ (HNWIs) refer to those with investable wealth of USD 1 million or more. Our high-net-worth-individual figures are rounded to the nearest 100.