As South Africans struggle to free itself from the grip of the COVID-19, some of the country’s high-net-worth individuals have been looking for ways to move abroad. Like many countries, the pandemic has shone a light on the cracks of society, and South Africa is no different. Rampant government corruption, gender-based violence, crime and unemployment plague this once inspirational country.

Many factors drive emigration from South Africa. On the one hand, there is a will to escape fear, racism and insecurity, and on the other, is the desire to be a citizen of the world. Many people who are considering emigration do so with the passion of experiencing the world, new cultures, and enjoying better professional opportunities.

The Underreporting of Emigrating South Africans Trend:

In 2003, South Africa relaxed its reporting requirements after the Immigration Act became law. Since then, the barcodes on South African passports leaving or arriving home are no longer scanned at ports of exit or entry and those leaving do not have to fill in a departure form anymore.  Measuring emigration is a challenge as many of the departing individuals do not declare their departure, and there is no way to force them to do so.

Most media reports focus on the percentage of people who query their emigration options. The number of emigration queries by South Africans increased by 70% from 2018 to 2019, according to a recent report on immigration consultancy data. In other words, an unusually high number of people are considering leaving the country, and no doubt a sizeable portion are doing so. According to the 2020 FNB Estate Agents Survey, emigration-related sales remained unchanged at 17% in the second quarter, around 70% of those selling to move countries are aged between 35 and 44 years old.

Choosing the Right Programme For Yourself

Securing alternative citizenship is one of the smartest, safest and most sustainable investments you can make for yourself and your family right now.

Almost every country around the world offers a pathway to citizenship, and depending on where you’re from and where you’re going, you may find it easy or difficult. It is imperative to do your research to find out whether ancestry, naturalization or Citizenship by Investment is the right path for you.

Truly Belong - South African Passport


Naturalisation is the legal process through which a foreign citizen can become a citizen of another country. To be naturalised, the applicant must first meet specific criteria, and each country has its own unique set of laws.

Some require applicants to legally reside in the country from 5 – 10 years, do an official integration course, speak their language, and in some cases relinquish your citizenship of birth. Going through the naturalisation process can be very time consuming when the applicant is required to reside in the country for the allotted period before one can apply.

The Ancestral Route

The nationality laws of many countries are extraordinarily complex, and if you have a legitimate claim to, for example, British citizenship, then there are options for you.

Ancestral visas to the UK are very popular with South Africans. However, they have their limitations in that if you want to settle in the UK and become a citizen eventually, you’ll need to ensure that you’re not out of the country for too long.


South Africans have been looking abroad to New Zealand, Australia, Portugal and even Canada to make their move. However, many families are being denied visas with the inability to amass sufficient points.

Citizenship by Investment

There are many benefits to having dual citizenship, including greater global mobility, new economic opportunity, a better quality of life, and improved personal security. Individuals and whole families are looking into a Plan B by applying for dual citizenship through Citizenship by Investment programmes.

Citizenship by Investment programmes offers the opportunity to legally acquire a new nationality in return for an investment in the economy of the host country. Such programmes confer citizenship status without causing any major disruptions to an investor’s life, provided they pass all the due diligence checks first, make a qualifying investment and provide all the correct documentation. Processing times for Citizenship by Investment programmes are relatively quick and range from 60 days to 12 months. The Citizenship by Investment programmes of Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis do not require applicants to reside in the country to qualify.

“Diversifying your citizenship is critical,” said Micha Rose Emmett, CEO of CS Global Partners.

“South African’s are becoming aware that possessing one citizenship and passport is risky and are realising that acquiring dual-citizenship is possible.”

“When visiting Southern Africa, without people knowing what I do, the conversation always turns to emigration. People don’t know what solutions are out there and tend to focus on ancestral visas. They don’t fully understand what options are available and how to choose the right one for their circumstances.”

Just over a dozen countries in the world currently offer Citizenship by Investment. There is a higher concentration of CBI programmes in the Caribbean, a region considered the cradle of second Citizenship by Investment.

With the rise of Citizenship by Investment opportunities, more countries have become available to South Africans. The Caribbean islands of Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis have attractive solutions for South African’s looking to transform their lives.

Two of the Top Citizenship by Investment Programmes in the Caribbean

Families around the globe are looking to Dominica and St Kitts and Nevis to expand their international fiscal footprint. Both countries promise safety, security, good healthcare, and trustworthy governments that have proved firm favourites among high net worth individuals. 

Dominica offers a wealth of new opportunities and experiences, including:

Full residence status—including working rights joining a global community that transcends Dominica’s land borders

  • Global mobility, including visa-free travel to over 120 territories, from Singapore and Hong Kong, to the European Union and the United Kingdom
  • Minimal taxation, including no wealth, gift, inheritance, foreign income, or capital gains tax
  • Full residence status, with the right to live and work in Dominica if you so choose to
  • The ability to hold multiple citizenships
  • Knowing that you have personally contributed to the prosperity of a peaceful, welcoming country, which you can call home for life.

Read also: Dominica: New Decade, New Investment

Gaining citizenship by investment to St Kitts and Nevis entitles investors to a huge range of benefits, including:

  • The ability to pass on the applicant’s citizenship to future generations
  • Citizenship for life, with the right to live and work in the country
  • Visa-free and visa-on-arrival travel to over 150 countries and territories, including Hong Kong, the UK and Singapore
  • A fair tax regime, with no worldwide income, inheritance and gift tax

Read also: St Kitts and Nevis: Get a Better Chance in Life with Citizenship by Investment

Dominique Heusdens