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UAE tops global ranking for attracting millionaires as rich Russians seek new home: Report

RIYADH: The UAE is expected to attract 4,000 millionaires into its borders by the end of 2022 — the most of any country globally, a new report claims.

This projected increase, compared to 2019’s net inflow of 1,300, is set to be one of the largest on record and secured the UAE its first position on Henley & Partners’ list of top ten countries.

UAE’s low tax regime, one of the world’s fastest vaccination rates and Dubai’s role in hosting the first world expo of the COVID-19 era helped boost the appeal of the country as a wealth hub.

Its immigration policies, which are tailored to attract private wealth and international talent, also helped induce this influx of ultra-wealthy people.

Affluent Russians seeking to escape the impact of the Western sanctions on their country have started to move to the UAE and Israel in large numbers, according to British journalist Misha Glenny.

Commenting on the report, he said: “An underlying pattern was already detectable in advance of the invasion of Ukraine. 

“Well before the imposition of sanctions on the Russian banking system, there was a tsunami of capital leaving the country, largely prompted by the increasingly capricious governing style of President Vladimir Putin and his demands of loyalty made on middle-class and wealthy Russians. 

“They have now come under further pressure from many Western countries, such as Britain, where they had previously made their homes.”

Last April, the UAE rolled out new visa rules to boost the competitiveness and flexibility of the job market dominated by foreign nationals, and to attract and retain global talent.

The Cabinet announced that green residence for skilled employees will provide a 5-year residency for workers, without a sponsor or employer.

The UAE succeeded in attracting tourism and trade which moved it up to the No. 15 position on the Henley Passport Index from No. 64 a decade ago.

The country had already announced the introduction of citizenship for certain categories of foreign nationals in a bid to attract further talent and investment into the country, in February 2021, PwC reported.

Dr. Juerg Steffen, CEO of Henley & Partners, said High Net-Wealth Individuals migration was a rising trend over the past decade until it dipped in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

He added: “The 2022 forecast reflects an extremely volatile environment worldwide. By the end of the year, 88,000 millionaires are expected to have relocated to new countries, 22,000 fewer than in 2019 when 110,000 moved. 

“Next year, the largest millionaire migration flows on record are predicted — 125,000 — as affluent investors and their families earnestly prepare for the new post-Covid world, with an as yet-to-be revealed rearrangement of the global order, and the ever-present threat of climate change as a constant backdrop.”

Australia came second on list with 3,500 HNWIs inflows, followed by Singapore with 2,800, Israel with 2,500 and Switzerland came fifth with 2,200 HNWIs inflows.

The US came sixth with 1,500 HNWIs, followed by Portugal with 1,300, Greece with 1,200, Canada with 1,000 and New Zealand gained 800 HNWIs.

According to Henley & Partners, Russia has suffered, as expected, the biggest emigration of millionaires over the past six months, with forecast net outflows of 15,000 by the end of 2022.