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Moving to Australia? Consider this

ANZ Private

2024-03-18 05:30

As high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) resume migrating to Australia at pre-pandemic levels,disclaimerit’s worth examining why our nation is a country of choice – and what needs to be considered before the big move.

COVID-19 stalled migration worldwide, but 2022 saw a strong recovery that’s forecast to increase.disclaimerAccording to the tenth annual Henley Private Wealth Migration Report, the total number of HNWIs expected to migrate from their home country to another is expected to rise to 128,000 worldwide in 2024, which is 44,000 more than in 2022.disclaimer

In 2023, Australia welcomed 5,200 HNWIs,disclaimera considerable increase from the 2022 figures of 3,800 and making it the top choice for millionaire migrants. We’re leading the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Singapore, the United States and Switzerland as the most desired destination for wealthy migrants.disclaimerSo, what is the appeal of moving Down Under?

Why high-net-worth individuals migrate

There are many factors in play when an individual decides to migrate.disclaimerAnd their amount of wealth changes little about those primary considerations, says David Yue, a senior private banker for ANZ Private.

“Whether you are a high-net-worth individual or just an individual looking to move to Australia, you have some common objectives,” he observes. “We’re talking about quality of life, social stability, the healthcare system, education for the children.”

Yue points out: “If you’re a high net worth individual, you probably already have a pleasant lifestyle and access to good schools and hospitals. But there are certain things that you can’t buy, like access to clean air and water, lower crime, et cetera..”

Yue says that while many people – regardless of wealth – focus on the next generation when they migrate, there are additional considerations for individuals of high net worth.

“Many are businesspeople, or investors, or entrepreneurs. So, they’ll also look at the business environment, the investment environment, the legal system, property rights protection. And the transparency of the political system, too – that’s a factor, even with democracies.”

Minimising the financial risks of migrating

Yue recommends potential migrants think through all possible angles before any plans to move are finalised: “There should be lots of research done, or you could hire an immigration consultant. Either way, you need to fully understand the country you’re going to. Does it suit your lifestyle, your business, your objectives?”

For individuals contemplating a move to Australia, Yue suggests that as well as researching the education, business and investment outlook, they should become familiar with the financial support system available. That includes banking and legal services, in addition to accountants. It’s also important to factor in long-term plans.

“As part of private banking services, we don’t just manage people’s money, we also help them manage potential risks. Estate planning is a topic that often comes up,” says Yue, who has a legal background.

He points out that Australia’s legal architecture is a common law system, which is quite different to the legal systems of some other countries, particularly in Asia, where many migrants to Australia originate.disclaimer

 “It's always a good idea to have comprehensive estate planning in place, including an Australian will that specifically deals with the Australian environment and covers Australian assets,” Yue says. He notes that it is best practice for an individual with assets in different jurisdictions to have separate wills for each jurisdiction.

Currency exchange risk is another relevant issue, Yue notes. Every migrant faces this risk in transferring assets between currencies, but for the HNWI group the risk is magnified due to the quantum of wealth.

“With careful planning, that risk can be managed,” Yue states. “Private bankers have good oversight of the overall objective of our clients. Typically, we can put a plan in place to make sure our clients’ wealth is protected.”

Migration is a team effort for advisers

Yue, who has been in international banking for six years, says it’s important for migrants – particularly HNWIs – to avoid a piecemeal approach to arranging the move.

“The best approach is for all professional advisers to work together,” he suggests. “This helps you avoid a disjointed position – for example, between accounting advice you receive and the banking services available in the country you’re moving to.”

He adds: “Whether you’re a private banking client or not, you should be getting your banking services lined up at the same time as your immigration attorney and accountant.”

Yue says this approach allows bankers to work concurrently with an individual’s accountant and other professional advisers to ensure a smooth transition for their client.

“A lot of the time, we’ll hold a joint meeting with client and accountant and the bank, and each professional adviser will provide their opinion, and then we’ll work together towards the objective,” he says.

He adds that little changes if someone intends to set up a ‘family office’, as this is treated similarly to a business entity.

“It is very important for the family office to understand the same factors [as an individual] – legal, accounting, the banking environment, et cetera,” he says. “The only slightly different consideration would be to make sure the new office is guided by the family’s principles and what the family wants to achieve, so you’re still united.”

Understand the requirements for permanent residency

Yue says not properly understanding what might be required to migrate successfully can lead to significant problems, and not just in terms of lost capital.

“I’ve seen a lot of people on the business investment immigration scheme (the Federal Government’s Innovation and Investment Program) who didn’t have a comprehensive understanding of the particular requirements of that program,” he says.

“Then, later on, they find out there are additional requirements to be met and… they are unable to meet them. And therefore, they fail the qualification of getting a permanent residency in Australia.”

Yue observes that the human cost of such failure can be more severe than the monetary loss for HNWIs.

“You’re moving your family around and when your kids are just getting used to the school and then you have to move again… it's not an ideal scenario.”

He says it’s a real risk that a family fractures from the stress, especially since the migration process can cause tension even if planned well.

“Even if you have a lot of money, it’s still stressful. So, a good plan and a good network of professional advisers, including private bankers, is what will really help smooth the transition and make sure that everything works as intended.”

Summing up

  1. Thoroughly research the requirements of immigration and the services you will need, or hire an immigration consultant to help you.
  2. Get all your professional advisers together early.
  3. Make sure everyone in the family understands and has contributed to the plan.

How can ANZ help?

ANZ Private’s international bankers are a team of specialists who have experience assisting high-net-worth individuals migrating to Australia. Most are also multilingual, with exemplary communication skills.

We offer banking services and products specifically designed to help high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) and their families make a smooth transition to life in Australia. This includes estate planning, risk advice, insurance protection, financial investment advice and even some financing and lending solutions tailored specifically to HNWI migrants.

Moving to Australia? Consider this
Banking specialist
ANZ Private

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Henley & Partners, Private Wealth Migration Report 2023, 13 June 2023. Accessed 18 October 2023.


Knight Frank, The evolving landscape of millionaire migration, 28 September 2023. Accessed 18 October 2023.


Australian Bureau of Statistics, Permanent migrants in Australia, 29 March 2023. Accessed 19 October 2023.