CAROL PATON: Despondent South Africans trigger new wave of emigration
Applications for UK ancestral visas and Lithuanian citizenship have increased
As despondency over SA’s future sets in among the privileged, a new wave of emigration is under way. As reported in last week’s Financial Mail, FNB’s Estate Agents Barometer shows that the number of home sellers who cite emigration as the reason for placing their property on the market nearly doubled from 7% in the fourth quarter of 2017 to 13.4% in the second quarter of this year. The rise is driven not by the wealthy but by the middle class, who owned properties priced below R1.6m on average.
Emigration or “semi-gration” is also happening in new ways. “Golden visa” residency programmes for Europe, which can be bought for as little as €140,000, are on the rise, and applications for UK ancestral visas and Lithuanian citizenship have increased. The Pam Golding Properties website, which now offers to facilitate a similar investment-residency scheme for the US, says that “having a small array of passport options is a new form of legacy to pass down the generations”.