Nearly 60 percent of global applicants seeking second citizenship or second residence programmes come from the Middle East region, according to a recently published study on ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) individuals by intelligence firm Wealth-X and global citizenship experts Arton Capital.
The report, entitled A Shrinking World: Global Citizenship for UHNW Individuals, found that Pakistan, Lebanon and Egypt had the highest number of UHNW second citizenship applicants, with nearly 40 percent of all applicants worldwide coming from these three countries alone.
The report also said that the Middle East had the highest proportion of billionaires in the world – 40 percent of global UNHWs – who sought second citizenship primarily for stability and security, tax efficiency, an ease of travel, a higher standard of living, a better quality of life, increased options for their children’s educations and extensive investment opportunities.
"In the Middle East, we are in the largest ever of succession transition as wealth in excess of $16 trillion transfers from one generation of UHNW individuals to the next by 2044,” said Armand Arton, President and CEO of Arton Capital.
“This transition is likely to create a surge in the number of UHNW individuals deciding to change their citizenship as the next generation consider their asset portfolio by identifying the most relevant market to invest in.”
“Many of these international investment decisions are based on the benefits each geographical jurisdiction offers to these individuals and therefore global economies have the opportunity to attract substantial foreign direct investment,” he added.
The report found that second citizenship applicants globally had an average net worth of $205 million, compared to the global UHNW average of $135 million. Billionaires were five times more likely to apply for second citizenship than an average UHNW individual (those with at least US$30 million in net assets), the report added.
Mykolas Rambus, CEO of Wealth-X believes that Indian and Chinese nationals will provide the next big surge is UNHWs seeking second citizenship.
"The trend of UHNW individuals applying for a second residence or citizenship looks set to continue in the coming years, particularly in Asia where trillions of dollars of new wealth will be created in the next decade and beyond,” he said.
There are currently almost 200,000 UHNW individuals globally worth a collective $27.77 trillion, according to the report. Billionaires account for about 1 percent of the world's UHNW individuals, but holding 23 percent of the collective UHNW wealth, which represents $6.5 trillion. It is predicted that by 2020 the global billionaire population will grow by 80 percent, or an increase of 1,700 billionaires.