World's richest migrants picked Australia over every other country

Australia is the world's top destination for wealthy migrants, according to New World Wealth's 2018 Global Wealth Migration Review, released this week.

Claiming 10,000 of the total 95,000 high-net-worth individuals that moved country last year, Australia's result placed it above the US for the third consecutive year.

Only 15 million people around the world fit the report's criteria as being high-net-worth, with the highest number of wealthy migrants listed as Chinese.

Australia dominates once again due to four key factors, according to the researchers: proximity to emerging Asian economies, its safety record, relatively low inherited taxes, and perceived problems with the US healthcare industry.

"Australia's superior growth over the past decade has also no doubt had an impact on confidence and business opportunities - over the past 10 years, total wealth held in Australia has risen by 83 per cent compared with 20 per cent growth in the US," the researchers say.

"As a result, the average Australian is now significantly wealthier than the average US citizen, which was not the case 10 years ago."

The effect of receiving a high number of wealthy migrants is said to be largely positive, according to the report, but can add upward pressure to property prices - something the report says Australia has an answer for.

"The only possible negative of taking in a wealthy person is that they can push property prices up to levels that locals cannot afford," the report says.

"However, there are controls that can be put in place to prevent this from getting out of hand, such as those introduced in Australia which prevent foreigners from buying 'second-hand homes' (ie. foreigners can only buy newly built homes)."

Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast were the three Australian cities that saw high-net-worth inflows of more than 1000 people in 2017, while Australia's overall high-net-worth population of 376,600 ranks it seventh overall, behind the US, Japan, China, Britain, Germany and Switzerland.

As for Australia's billionaire population, Australia's 36 is dwarfed by the 737 in the US.

Looking beyond the mega-rich, HSBC's 2017 Expat Explorer report ranked Australia as the seventh-favourite destination for the world's expatriates last year, up from 11th the previous year, with the country ticking plenty of boxes for skilled workers on the move.

"If you look at the main reasons [why Australia ranks highly], they are longevity reasons - quality of life, climate etc - things that don't change. And what was particularly interesting to me was that 31 per cent of expats have found love with a long-term partner here in Australia," Graham Heunis, head of HSBC retail banking says.

The HSBC report found Australia to be the third best place in the world for expats to raise children, out of the 159 countries in the study. Sixty-nine per cent of respondents say their family's quality of life is higher in Australia than their previous country, and 60 per cent say their earnings potential is better in Australia than in their country of origin.

This story World's richest migrants picked Australia over every other country first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.