What wealthy foreigners like about Australia
Chinese migrants, motivated in ways similar to migrants from other countries, are drawn to Australia to establish a base for themselves outside of their home country.
“They like the plan B,” says Bacon. “They want to become ‘global citizens’ where they acquire a second citizenship or second residency elsewhere to diversify their wealth and their asset base outside of China. They usually retain a footing back in their home country.”
HNWIs often want their children to be educated in English. Australia's school system, with its focus on sport, soft skills and social development, as well as academic achievement, is a major drawcard.
“A lot of Asian countries have a very academic-focused education system and I think the newer generation realises that the whole academic drive doesn’t rear well-rounded children,” Bacon says.
At the tertiary level, Australian universities hold their own on the international stage. Seven Australian universities were ranked in the top 100 universities worldwide by QS World University Rankings for 2020.
“Australia is already attracting a lot of international students and as they graduate and look at career opportunities, some of them settle in Australia and in turn their families often join them,” Bacon says.
With older generations looking to join their children, Australia’s quality healthcare systems and support for older people and those with disabilities are highly regarded.
Australia’s diverse population is also appealing, says Deloitte Private partner Peter Pagonis: “It makes it easier for people to come here. People are attracted because we’re already multicultural.”
Data from the latest census, conducted in 2016, shows that nearly half of Australia’s population was either born overseas or had one or both parents born overseas. One in five speak a language other than English at home.
What rich immigrants do in Australia
Wealthy migrants don’t consider immigration an end in itself. Maximising the advantages of their new home is top of mind, says Pagonis.
“They’re thinking about the next generation and the opportunities that come about for that next generation … Australia is a young country, there are a lot of opportunities,” he says.
Australia has been the fastest-growing developed-world market over the past 20 years in terms of economic, wealth, income and property price growth, New World Wealth reported in its AfrAsia Bank Global Wealth Migration Review.
Personal wealth in Australia has risen by around 140 per cent during that time, compared with only 90 per cent growth in the US, New World Wealth reported.
Migrants see business opportunities in Australia and can bring expertise, innovative ideas, and a global network of contacts to benefit Australian enterprises.
About 2000 SIVs have been granted since the program began in 2012, translating to $10 billion worth of investment, according to a Deloitte Access Economics analysis.
These funds are invested in areas as diverse as real estate, health and medical science, renewable energy, and environmental management, Deloitte found.
In the past, most wealthy migrants settled in Melbourne and Sydney to be close to good schools, universities and business opportunities. While this is still the case, many are moving to other states and into regional areas, says Bacon.
“Some states are trying to attract investment and new business industries and are a lot more flexible with their criteria. That’s making people think outside of Victoria and NSW,” she says.
South Australia, for example, boosted the number of SIVs available to 705 in the 2018-19 program year, up from 570 in 2017-18.
One high-net-worth migrant ANZ Private has helped has invested in the agribusiness sector in regional Victoria and partnered with local universities to support research into ways to combat the effects of climate change on farm management and practises.
“He’s helping local farmers who are seeking investments and support. He has invested in this sector and kept the local families and personnel to help run and operate the business to ensure there is continuation of employment of the communities,” she says.
Zoe Paterson is a financial and property journalist, formerly at The Australian Financial Review, and now based in Canada.
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