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Rich Indians lift UAE to top of millionaire migrants chart

La Mer, Dubai. Year-round leisure activities add to the UAE's appeal for rich migrants, Henley said Dubai Tourism
La Mer, Dubai. Year-round leisure activities add to the UAE's appeal for rich migrants, Henley said
  • Emirates had net inflow of 5,200 millionaires in 2022, report finds
  • UAE seen as ‘one of the foremost safe haven destinations in the world’
  • Pre-pandemic, Emirates would gain about 1,000 millionaires a year

The UAE had the highest net inflow of millionaires in the world in 2022, with that number set to be swelled this year by super-rich Indians.

Last year 5,200 more high net worth individuals (HNWIs) relocated to the Emirates than left, according to the Henley Private Wealth Migration Report.

The study forecasts a net inflow of 4,500 HNWIs – people with wealth of more than $1 million – to the UAE in 2023.

Most are expected to arrive from India, with large numbers also coming from the UK, Russia, Lebanon and Pakistan.

“Pre-pandemic, the UAE traditionally saw net inflows of around 1,000 high-net-worths per year,” said Andrew Amoils, head of research at New World Wealth, a South African wealth intelligence firm that compiles the data for Henley.

The report attributed the UAE’s appeal to its position as a safe haven, its diversified economy, low tax rates, healthcare and education systems, prime real estate market and all-year-round leisure activities.

“In a similar way to Switzerland, Singapore and Monaco, Dubai in particular and the UAE is seen as one of the foremost safe haven destinations in the world,” said Amoils.

The forecast for 2023 places the UAE in second place for net inflows, behind Australia.

Singapore, the US and Switzerland complete the top five locations. It predicts that 122,000 millionaires will migrate this year.

The arrival of wealthy migrants has played a role in the UAE’s rising inflation but also presents new opportunities, a leading economist said last year.

It “has absolutely contributed to the robustness of demand and the recovery that we’ve seen in domestic demand over the past year or so”, Khatija Haque, chief economist and head of research at Emirates NBD, Dubai’s largest bank, said last October.

Speaking at a public briefing for the IMF’s Regional Economic Outlook for the Middle East and Central Asia, she added: “I think it has contributed to inflation in housing. In particular, we’ve seen the rents going up much faster than we were expecting coming out of the pandemic.”

Saudi Arabia is set to record a net loss of millionaires again this year, according to the Henley report. It lost 600 last year and is forecast to lose another 100 in 2023.

Amoils said: “It’s mainly people in the financial services sector who are moving to the UAE, but it’s not major compared to last year.”

However, there are 71 billionaires living in Saudi Arabia according to the Billionaire Census 2023 from New York-based consultancy Wealth-X, which was released last week.

Saudi places ninth globally in its list of residents with wealth in the 10-digit-plus range. The UAE is 15th with 45 billionaires.