Top 10 Best Countries For South Africans To Immigrate To In 2020

Looking to emigrate or retire abroad in 2020? Discover the best countries to emigrate to for South Africans, or contact us now for a free consultation.

SEEING AS YOU’RE HERE: We have a number of exceptionally affordable second residency and citizenship programmes, not featured on this page, that are available to South Africans. Contact us now for more information.

1. THE UK

Given the cultural and historic ties between South Africa and the United Kingdom, the latter is an obvious first choice for South African families seeking to emigrate in search of a better life. Not everyone can obtain a UK ancestral or spousal visa, however, and the country’s top Residency by Investment Program, the Tier 1 Investor Visa, is beyond the reach of many would-be emigrants.

The good news, however, is that business owners and their families are eligible to apply for the UK Sole Representative Visa Program, which requires no capital investment, and allows the spouse and dependent children of the business owner to live, work and study in the UK.

If you are a senior executive or minority shareholder in a non-EEA based business generating £5,000 + per month, you can obtain this business visa for an inclusive cost of only £22,500. The visa is initially valid for 3 years, and then renewable for 2 years, after which you and your family can apply for indefinite leave to remain.

You continue working for or within your current company, but serve as the sole representative of the business’ new UK branch, and thus no social welfare or tax contributions are applicable.

Additional benefits of the program includes free tuition for children under the age of 18 years, as well as free access to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). You also don’t need to be present in the UK continually to qualify, and your family members can reside there without you having to be in-country.

This concierge-style business visa solution does all the heavy lifting and ongoing maintenance, including your company setup, visa renewals, and spousal work permit applications. The £22,500 fee covers all inclusive services for a period of 5 years, making this one of the most cost effective UK residency solutions on the market.

Contact us now to secure your family’s future in the UK.



2. PORTUGAL

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In the last few decades, Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, has gone from being the less attractive sister to Spanish cities like Madrid and Barcelona to being one of the most hip and happening cultural and travel destinations in Europe.

Courtesy of TAAG Angola Airways, South Africans can fly to Porto and Lisbon in under 12.5 hours, with only a brief stop in Luanda to interrupt what otherwise would have been a direct flight into Southern Europe. What’s more, with return airfares priced around R5,999 all in, there is currently no faster or cheaper way of getting to Europe – and yes, their Boeing 777s flying into Europe are quite safe and comfortable.

Once you venture beyond the obvious tourist districts, food and beverage prices in Lisbon and Porto start comparing favourably with that of Cape Town or Johannesburg.

While rent and property prices can be very steep in the Alfamas and Gracas of Lisbon and Porto’s premier suburbs, both rental and purchase prices drop dramatically as you venture into coastal towns like Aveiro, Lagos, Faro and the farther flung reaches of the Algarve region.

As an added bonus, grocery shopping comes in at a very similar price point and quality to Woolworths, even in the capital.

English is widely spoken in the larger cities, making this an easy option for “swallow” retirees.

If you’re not keen to invest €350,000+ into an overheated property market to obtain a Portuguese Golden Visa, you can also look at the country’s Non Habitual Residency (NHR) permit, aimed specifically at attracting well-heeled foreigners seeking to retire in Portugal.

Another relatively well kept secret is applying for a Golden Visa by purchasing property on the stunning Portuguese island Madeira – the tax incentives in itself make this a move well worth considering.

3. MAURITIUS

Scores of South African business owners, investors and retirees are exchanging the uncertainties of modern-day SA for a safe, relaxed island existence in Mauritius in 2020 – and with good reason. Offering a strong, diversified economy, exceptional quality of life and a high degree of personal safety, the country is a breath of fresh air compared to life in South Africa during the Covid-19 pandemic and its unfolding aftermath.

A key advantage of Mauritius over many of the European and other Plan B destinations is its close proximity to South Africa: critically, it is situated close enough to SA  for business professionals and farmers to travel to and from SA on a regular basis in order to manage their affairs in SA, while their families can enjoy a high quality of living, healthcare and education in Mauritius.

The best part?

A raft of recent changes to the Mauritius Residency Program were recently announced by the government, making it even easier for South African business professionals, investors and retirees to settle in Mauritius. Find out more about the 2020 changes here.

4. SPAIN

The world over, Spain is a massively popular tourist destination – and with very good reason! Whether you’re into wine, food, architecture, culture or outdoor living, Spain offers it all. It’s no wonder that the country has had to launch an anti-tourism campaign with a view to combat an over tourism problem in its largest cities.

Predictably, the Spanish Golden Visa Programme, in 2020, still gets away with charging a premium, relative to the equivalent Golden Visa programmes in EU countries such as Greece, Portugal and Italy.

Yet if you’re prepared to look beyond the central Barcelona districts to suburbs such as El Poblenou, you can pick up property for prices comparable to those of the Cape Town City Bowl. Beyond the urbanised centres of Madrid, Barcelona and Sevilla, the property prices drop dramatically, especially in the more rustic coastal towns, villages, and the province of Galicia, in particular.

In the latter, in particular, the cost of living is cheap, the scenery spectacular (if pastoral), and the general pace of life perfectly suited to those seeking a safe, quite European retirement away from the hustle and bustle of big city life.

If you’re a beach bum, also be sure to check out Alicante and the Costa Brava region.

 

5. MONTENEGRO

Montenegro country shares borders with Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia and Albania, with most of Western Europe’s key cities situated less than 3 hours away by air.

Named after its signature black mountains, Montenegro is a country of exceptional natural beauty, with excellent quality properties still going for a song… for now.

Around 20 years ago, South Africans were sceptical about the appeal of countries such as Portugal and Slovenia as well. And today, both of these countries look set to rival the popularity of Mauritius and Thailand as budget-friendly travel destinations. And Montenegro, in 2020, looks set to develop along the same trajectory.

 The Montenegro Citizenship By Investment Program was launched as recently as 2019, however industry experts expect it to be fully subscribed in a very short space of time.

While the Montenegrin programme requires a €100,000 development fund donation to the government of Montenegro, in addition to a minimum property investment of €250,000 or more, the overall cost outlay for an EU passport compares incredibly favourably with those of even the cheapest EU Residency By Investment Programmes.

As has been the case in Spain and Portugal, the property prices in Montenegro are therefore expected to sky-rocket off the back of Golden Visa driven international demand in the coming years.

So if you’re looking at bagging a relative bargain, both in terms of a buy-to-let property or second home for your future retirement, and obtaining European citizenship and a passport by investment, now is the time to consider Montenegro.

6. HUNGARY

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If classic European flair is your thing, look no further than Hungary, and its capital Budapest, in particular. Apart from boasting one of the most affordable Residency By Investment Programmes in the EU, with eligible business investments starting from only €50,000, Hungary’s personal income tax is also capped at a flat 15% rate. 

Migrant residents who have maintained in-country presence for a period of 8 years can become eligible to apply for Hungarian citizenship. A key benefit of choosing the Hungarian Golden Visa, as opposed to those of Italy, Portugal or Spain, is the fact that family members’ applications for residency can be submitted as soon as that of the primary applicant has been approved.

For those seeking a Plan B in Europe for their families, this is a key benefit – as opposed to having to what 1 year or more, as is often typical in other EU countries offering second residency schemes to third country investors.

Few people truly have a sense of exactly how big and diverse America is; there is virtually no comparing New Orleans to Kentucky or Washington State.

Yet the irresistible allure of the American Dream has seen the USA become one of the most sought after immigration destinations in the world. The Green Card Lottery, US E2 Visa and the EB5 Investor Visa Programme all bear testimony to America’s appeal among those seeking to forge a new path in the New World.

For South Africans seeking to move to the USA by investment, the barrier to entry just went up substantially. The EB5 investment threshold is being raised to $900,000 from $500,000, and South African nationals are not eligible to apply for the E2 Visa Programme, based on the fact that South Africa is not an E2 trade and navigational treaty signatory with the USA.

Yet as is increasingly becoming the case, there are certain “workarounds”, or unintended consequences”, to the creation of new residency and citizenship by investment programmes around the world. Two very salient examples of this is the Turkish Citizenship by Investment Programme and the Grenada Investment Citizenship Programme – both of these programmes lead to E2 Visa Programme eligibility.

This “Golden Visa hack” goes a long way towards explaining the success of the Grenada Passport Programme, and the Turkish CIP, in particular.

The E2 programme offers long term stay rights to non-immigrant investors; as long as the E2 programme requirements are being fulfilled, you and your family could reside in the USA.

But while Turkey’s Islamic-theocratic slant may be off-putting to many non-Muslim South Africans, the Turkish passport’s power to facilitate access to the USA should weigh heavily in its favour. What’s more, Turkish citizenship also grants migrant investors the ability to apply for a Turkish Businessperson Visa for the UK.

Under this programme, one could hypothetically open a Laundromat, barber or hair salon and qualify for UK residency on the basis of business formation as a Turkish citizen.

 So before you dismiss Turkey as an option for investment migration, look at the benefits critically.

8. IRELAND

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Given the high investment threshold of the Irish Residency By Investment Programme, formally known as the Ireland Investor Visa Programme, relatively few Southern African migrant investors are choosing Ireland as a foothold in Europe.

With minimum eligible business and fund based investments starting from €1 million, e.g. in the Irish Diaspora Loan Fund (IDLF), or from €2 million, in an Irish Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT), there are definitely more capital efficient ways to obtain second residency in Europe.

 It therefore isn’t surprising that Ireland has become increasingly popular among qualified and experienced professionals working in the information and technology sectors.

 In terms of your work visa options in Ireland, you’re looking at the Irish Critical Skills Work Permit, the Irish General Work Permit or the Dependent Work Permit for parents and spouses.

While the country is rated highly by expats in terms of the scope for career growth, the weather is a decided “minus”. Ireland’s vibrant culture does help make up for it though; Dublin, in particular, is a bustling cultural hub, while the gorgeous Irish countryside has a charm and appeal of its own.

9. MALTA

As an investment migration destination, the island nation of Malta is an interesting choice. While it isn’t situated in mainland Europe, Malta offers spectacular scenery, a sun drenched lifestyle and a bourgeoning technology sector.

The cost of living in Malta is relatively affordable compared with many other European countries, however eating out tends to be quite expensive. Internet and mobile pricing is also relatively high.

Rental accommodation in Malta used to be both plentiful and well priced. As of 2020, however, you should expect to pay in excess €1,000 per month for a 2-bedroom apartment in a reasonably middle-market suburb.

In terms of violent Crime, Malta is rated as one of the safest countries in Europe. While pick-pocketing and burglaries do occur, Malta is still travelling the average European petty crime rates by quite some margin.

In terms of economic and political stability, Malta scores high. English is widely spoken, making it an easy choice for South Africa expats and retirees alike. The country offers an extremely attractive taxation regime, with companies established in Malta benefiting from a variety of tax-refund schemes. The country has a reputation for being quite bureaucratic though.

A key draw card of Maltese citizenship is that public healthcare in Malta is free, and private healthcare is relatively inexpensive as well. A 2012 PWC report ranked Malta as being one of the Top 6 EU countries in terms of healthcare quality, so for both families and retirees, this tends to be a very appealing benefit. 

10. SLOVENIA

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Slovenia is fast becoming one of the most popular new travel destinations in the world. Featuring world renowned gastronomy, spectacular scenery and the iconic Lake Bled, Slovenia has a lot to offer.

But beyond its cultural and natural appeal, Slovenia is also offers foreign investors one of the most affordable second residency programmes in Europe. While Slovenia doesn’t have a formal Golden Visa Programme per se, residency can be obtained on the basis of business establishment, with eligible investments starting from only €150,000 excluding fees.

 English is widely spoken in Ljubljana, the capital, making it an excellent choice for expats and retirees. Most of Europe’s key business destinations can be reached by air in under 3 hours, making it the ideal location for the establishment of a satellite office in Europe.

Best-selling Citizenship By Investment Program: Vanuatu

Discover the Vanuatu Citizenship By Investment Programme, which is fast becoming a best-seller among South Africans:

  • PRICE: $205,000 including fees for a family of 4.

  • VISA FREE TRAVEL: 140+ countries, incl. UK & the EU.

  • 0% TAX: Vanuatu is a tax haven, so any revenue you bill through your Vanuatu bank account is tax free.

  • APPLICATION TIMELINE: 60 Days. The entire process takes only 2 months and is fully remote.

  • You and your family can obtain second citizenship AND powerful passports even before the current lockdown is over.

Contact us now for more information and to get started.

Citizenship donations from $100,000. Fees from $25,000. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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