Tag: emigration

The great escape: demand for £200 000 visas soars

A growing group of South Africans are increasingly eyeing obtaining the UK’s £200 000 Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa as political and economic woes continue to pummel their homeland.

This is according to Gary Kockott, MD for SA at Sable International, who says he’s seen an uptick in local demand for the visa. The visa offers a way for entrepreneurs to invest their way to citizenship in the UK for themselves and their families.

Q: Gary, SA is going through a turbulent time at the moment. Have you noticed an increase in clients coming to Sable International to enquire and seek UK business visas?

A: Absolutely. I think there’s a lot of individuals who are disillusioned at where we will be in the next few years. I think that with the rampant corruption, state capture, further downgrades, and our imminent recession, people are very disillusioned. So we’ve seen a big increase in client interest.

Q: Can you tell me about the UK Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Investment Program that Sable International offers?

A: Yes. It’s a bespoke UK citizenship by investment program where, through a £200 000 investment into the UK, you can obtain UK residency for you and your family and ultimately citizenship – if all the requirements are met. In short, we match investor skills and experience with a range of pre-approved business investment opportunities whilst meeting the UK Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa qualifying criteria.

Q: You said it costs about £200 000?

A: Yes. That’s the capital investment you have to make into either a new or an existing UK business.

Q: How long is the visa valid for? You can basically qualify for UK citizenship afterwards, so can your whole family then also qualify for that?

A: Yes, absolutely. You can take your entire family, as long as they are dependents, with you. Your initial visa is granted for 3 years and 2 months, at which stage you would extend. If you meet those requirements, that extension is to 5 years. You then get indefinite leave to remain and once you’ve been a permanent resident for 5 years and you’ve held your indefinite leave to remain for 12 months, you’re able to apply for citizenship.

Q: You said that Sable International matches up the applicants with businesses. Can you tell us a little bit more about how that process works?

A: We’ve partnered with a private equity firm and they specialise in obtaining foreign direct investment into the UK. They have a number of businesses – investee businesses – that are actively seeking foreign direct investment. What we then do (together with our partners) is we match an individual’s skills and their experience with those businesses’ needs, because you have to match your skills with the business in order to qualify for the visa.

Q: How easy or difficult is it to get this visa compared to other, similar European visas, for example?

A: My recommendation would be to use a skilled immigration advisor. You do have to jump through some hoops in order to achieve it as it’s not straightforward. You have to apply a genuine test etc., but if you meet the capital amount and you’ve got a decent advisor, you’ll be able to get your visa.

Q: What is the rationale from the UK side to dole out visas like this? What is their main motivation behind it?

A: They’re looking for foreign direct investment into the United Kingdom, so they have a number of different Tier 1 investor visas, of which the entrepreneur visa is one of them.

Q: Is this one way in which the UK brings in a lot of foreign expertise, despite the advent of Brexit?

A: Absolutely, they’re bringing in the investment and they’re bringing in the skills.

Q: What has the reception been like from South African citizens?

A: The interest has been big. This visa has been around for quite some time, since 2008, but in the last few months the last 8 or 9 months, given our political climate and our economic instability, there’s been a huge increase in interest across all our visa categories. Generally, people are looking to emigrate.

Q: Can you maybe tell me about some of your other visa categories as well then?

A: Obviously within the Tier 1 category there’s the entrepreneur visa, there’s also the investment visa or the investor visa, that’s more of a passive opportunity where you invest £2m into the UK, that’s into a UK bank account which you then invest into UK government bonds loan capital or share capital and you are able to go over. The visa is granted for 5 years and you are able to go, live and work in the UK with your family. Then, there are a whole bunch of other categories. e.g. Married partner visas, ancestry visas, and other types of immigration visas.

Q: For our readers out there who are interested in obtaining one of these visas, what kind of advice would you give them, just in terms of going about this process?

A: Well, all of these services you can do yourself but my recommendation is if you are serious about emigrating, you get the right advice. Whether it’s through us or through other emigration advisors. getting the right advice of which category to go through and how to achieve it is the best way forward.

Q: Once an applicant is through to the other side in the UK, do you at Sable International still keep in touch with them? How does that work?

A: Absolutely, so we assist throughout the process. When we do the entrepreneur visa for example, as far as we’re concerned we’re in the process with you for the 6 years, until you get your citizenship. So we’re able to advise you, do all your extensions for you, we’ll ensure that you meet the various requirements in obtaining those extensions so that you’ll eventually get your citizenship.

Q: Gary, and just looking at this year so far, can you maybe give me numbers on how many people have approached you to date or how many you’re expecting to approach you regarding business visas for the UK?

A: Yes, I’m probably getting between 5 and 10 interested clients a week but it’s a long sale cycle, the individuals take a bit of time to make the decision. It’s a very big decision, emigrating, a lot of these guys are having to sell up their assets, if they’re emigrating permanently because of the fee of £200 000, which is about R3.5m in today’s money, so a lot of people are selling up in order to do that. the interest is massive and it’s also massive in terms of individuals looking to take their wealth offshore, and looking for second citizenships.

Q: Talking about second citizenships, so once you’ve perhaps got one of these visas and you get UK citizenship ultimately, can you still hang onto your South African citizenship then? How does that process work?

A: Yes, as long as you do it in the right manner, so you have to notify the South African government that you’re applying for UK citizenship. We (South Africans) are allowed to hold dual citizenship, so you certainly are able to keep your South African citizenship and take on the UK citizenship, as long as you go through the right process beforehand, before you make the application.

Q: Gary, and looking at visas like this. Is it a key strategy of Sable International’s? How does this fit into your broader business strategy?

A: Absolutely, we assist individuals who want to internationalise themselves, their wealth, or their businesses, so we’re constantly looking at ways in which we can assist individuals, who are looking to get second citizenships or emigrate or move, particularly to the United Kingdom or Australia. Putting together this program was just one of those bespoke options in being able to assist our clients better.

Q: Gary, it’s been an absolute pleasure talking to you today. Thanks very much for giving us more information on this.

A: Not a problem. Thanks very much, Gareth, I appreciate your time.

By Gareth van Zyl for BizNews 

Government wants to keep tabs on emigration

Government has unveiled plans to limit emigration by tracking those leaving SA for more than three months.

Despite working on building a more inclusive South Africa with opportunities for all, the government’s solution is to try and limit the number of South Africans leaving the country.

Sounds unbelievable? Well, it is.

On Sunday, Rapport reported that cabinet has approved a piece of legislation – don’t worry, it’s not law yet – that would allow the department of home affairs to put a trace on all South African citizens planning to leave the country for more than three months.

According to BusinessTech, the Department of Home Affairs’ White Paper on international migration would be used as a means of keeping tabs on folks outside of the country and to try and limit the number of people looking to leave.

The document also outlines the department of home affairs’ plans on how to deal with the massive influx of African immigrants looking for greener pastures in Mzansi, with the controversial ‘open borders policy’ forming the backbone of said strategy.

Since Jacob Zuma wrestled control of South Africa away from Thabo Mbeki we’ve seen an upswing in South Africans emigrating to the UK and Australia and, according to the paper approved by cabinet, emigration has been increasing by about 9% year-on-year, with more and more black professionals looking to leave.

Following Jacob Zuma’s latest cabinet reshuffle and the subsequent ratings downgrade, the number of South Africans enquiring about emigration options has surged significantly… no surprises there.

So what does government propose: limit those leaving and track the rest, instead of focusing on inclusive economic growth.

The white paper is, reportedly, the first of its kind put forward by the department of home affairs, aimed at preventing – or limiting — South Africans from emigrating.

By Ezra Claymore for www.thesouthafrican.com

South Africa has the highest number of highly-skilled women professionals of any African country who are emigrating to other countries because of limited career opportunities at home.

This is according to an analysis of data by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which shows the migration patterns between all African countries and OECD countries.

The OECD is made up of 35 countries, including the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and several European countries.

This, combined with the analysis of data from the Institute for Futures Research at the University of Stellenbosch and the Commission for Gender Equality, shows that the number of women leaving South Africa for the world’s most popular immigrant destinations is growing faster than the men who are moving to the same countries.

Out of 86 countries that South Africans emigrated to, those that experienced the highest migrant influx were the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States.

These three countries received 967,619 migrants from South Africa from 2010 to 2013. Of these, almost half — 486,134 — were women. In the 2010-2011 period the number of women migrants to these countries outnumbered men.

Commission for Gender Equality commissioner Janine Hicks said women professionals were likely to seek career opportunities in other countries because their representation in managerial positions and directorships were still disproportionately low.

“If you ask about a push factor, it’s that we are out there but we are not getting access to senior positions. Gender transformation groups have put out figures that point to poor gender transformation,” Ms Hicks said.

While women made up 46.8% of the employed population in 2013/2014, their representation was at 29.3% among executive managers, 9.2% among private sector chairpersons of boards and as low as 2.4% among CEOs of JSE-listed companies, she says.

Also at issue were rigid attitudes in the professional environment regarding the inclusion of women in key decision-making. And there was a failure on the part of the private sector to recognise the needs of women when fulfilling their corporate social responsibility obligations, especially in rural areas where access to services was limited.

“Mining companies in Mpumalanga claim they struggle to retain women professionals. Mining companies in South Africa are based in rural areas, so some would joke that there is no Woolworths in Secunda so it would be hard to retain a woman there,” Hicks says.

“But they don’t seem to want to talk about investing in services that women working in these rural areas need, such as schools to send their children to, and gynaecologists. In fact I challenge you to find one gynaecologist in Secunda,” she says.

Mienke Steytler of the South African Institute of Race Relations said women were most affected by the lacklustre performance of the South African economy, which hampered their employment prospects.

“Young women tend to take advantage of the opportunities offered to them and if these opportunities are in other countries, they will take them, especially if they face such a high chance of not finding work,” Ms Steytler said.

Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom favoured highly skilled female migrants, and there were also fewer concerns for women over crime, healthcare, and education among other things, she said.

By Khulekani Magubane for www.bdlive.co.za

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