Off-plan residences in Dubai Marina
Residences in Dubai Marina. The world's millionaires are streaming into Dubai and the rest of the UAE. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The world's wealthiest are streaming into Dubai and the rest of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The UAE remains the destination of choice for millionaires, a new report shows, with the world’s mega-rich lured by the country’s safety, business-friendly environment and quality infrastructure.

Approximately 2,000 high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs), each with at least $1 million (Dh3.6 million) worth of net assets, including property, cash, equities and business interests, streamed into the UAE in 2018, delivering a much-needed investment boost to the local economy. The majority of them, estimated to be more than 1,000, settled in Dubai.

The number of affluent migrants in the UAE has risen by two per cent in 2018, compared to the previous year, according to the Global Wealth Migration Review of AfrAsia Bank and New World Wealth that tracks global fortunes and wealth migration trends over the past ten years.

The UAE emerged in the top five list of destinations that lured the biggest wealth inflows last year, ranking fifth, just behind Switzerland.

Millionaires around the world are moving into new places and in 2018 alone, approximately 108,000 of them migrated, up from 95,000 in 2017.

The movement of wealthy individuals – where they’re setting up a new home or which places they are leaving – are being tracked regularly, as wealth migration figures are a very important gauge of the health of an economy.

If a country or city is seeing a large number of millionaires leaving, for example, it could indicate some serious underlying problems in the country. It could be that there’s lack of business opportunities, the crime rate is high or there are other issues that discourage people to stay.

“Conversely, countries that attract HNWIs tend to be very healthy and normally have low crime rates, good schools and good business opportunities,” said the report.

Top countries

The country that lured the biggest number of millionaire migrants is Australia, with HNWI net inflows reaching 12,000 in 2018, followed by the United States in the second place and Canada in the third position.

Countries with highest millionaire inflows, 2018

Australia: 12,000

United States: 10,000

Canada: 4,000

Switzerland: 3,000

United Arab Emirates: 2,000

Caribbean: 2,000

New Zealand: 1,000

Singapore: 1,000

Portugal: 1,000

Greece: 1,000

Spain: 1,000

The report also noted that among the cities worldwide, Dubai is one of the top destinations attracting very large millionaire inflows, reaching more than 1,000 in the past year. Also recording significant influx of millionaires are Los Angeles, Melbourne, Miami, New York City, San Francisco Bay Area and Sydney.

“Dubai is the top financial centre in the Middle East. It is also one of the safest cities in the region and a popular destination for migrating HNWIs and wealthy expats,” the report noted.

With hundreds of millionaires streaming into Dubai every year, the value of the total private wealth in the city is set to grow further.

“The strong wealth growth in Dubai going forward should be fueled by strong growth in the local financial services and professional services sector (banks, fund managers, wealth managers, law firms), strong growth in the local healthcare and IT sectors, inward HNWI migration, Dubai's growing dominance as the top financial center in the Middle East [and] ease of doing business in the country,” Andrew Amoils, head of research at New World Wealth, told Gulf News.

There are approximately 14,000,000 individuals worth at least $1 million in net assets, another 560,000 people with net assets of $10 million or more and 25,000 others with net assets of $10 million or more. Billionaires, each with net assets of at least $1 billion, account for 2,140 individuals.