Visa free travel attracts SA investors to international destinations

Visa  -free travel and investing in a strong currency are mainly what attracts South African investors to international destinations.
This is according to Sandra Woest from citizenship-by-investment consultancy Latitude.
Woest said the consultancy was seeing an uptick in citizenship-by-investment.
She said the industry started in South Africa about 25 years ago and originally started where countries would attract ultra net-worth people and would approach companies like Latitude who do government advisory services to develop these programs for them.
“This is not always just to attract financial wealth, this is to attract people of talent, successful families and with this obviously comes an investment. Most of our clients would invest in property but there are options where there can be a government contribution or donation or there can be an investment into a business,” said Woest .
She added that some countries required about a $100 000 investment while others such as the Cyprus for instance required about 2.5 million euros.
“So there is a little bit of variety. We always say the programme is like a dress for a women , it’s not a one size fits all,” she said.
Woest said that while the programme put clients in different categories, the Portugal Golden Residence was quite popular with South Africans as it had a Schengen visa.
“You can travel visa–free across the Schengen area, it’s a nice country to own a property in, it’s in a strong currency, the euro currency. So this is a very attractive option for South Africans. What also makes it attractive is that you don’t have to spend half of the year there to maintain residence , you literally only have to spend seven days there,” said Woest .
She added that there is also the Caribbean island and with a Caribbean passport clients had access to visa-free travel.
“So for a businessman, it’s hassle-free as he does not have to apply for a visa every time he goes on a business trip. With a Caribbean passport you’ve got visa-free travel to over 140 countries. So if you look at what attracts the South African, I would say visa-free travel, we all know how difficult it is travel with a South African passport. The other thing is investing in a strong currency. Everybody across the world invests cross border and buying property you get access to visa-free travel that can open up the world. ,” she said.
Woest added that very few Latitude clients actually packed up and left the country  because they still had  family or business interests in South Africa.
“They normally have a personal reason as to why they want to move, for most of the clients it is for providing a passport for their children. With this passport they can go to Europe and they can get employment without having to get work visas or they can study at international universities without having to apply for visas and they have a wide spectrum. They want to give their children a choice.This just opens up the world for a successful family,” said Woest .
Independent online

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