Dubai’s GDP growth for 2018 is projected at 3.5%, up from 2.9% and 3.3% in 2016 and 2017, respectively. Abu Dhabi’s GDP is expected to grow 3.2% in 2018, from 0.3% in 2017 and 2.8% in 2016. Image Credit: © XPRESS / Ahmed Ramzan

Dubai: Thousands of millionaires around the world are on the move, and migrating to more accommodating destinations, including the UAE.

A new report by a global wealth intelligence and market research company, which examined the migration flows of the wealthy, showed that 3,000 individuals with net assets of $1 million (Dh3.6 million) or more shifted base to the UAE in 2015.

As a hotspot for the rich, the UAE far outpaced several destinations, with the number of millionaires moving to the country ranked as the sixth highest in the world.

Last year alone, the UAE attracted  a large chunk of wealthy individuals from Turkey, where a recent failed coup attempt heightened security fears of residents and holidaymakers. The country also pulled in a significant number of wealthy Indians during the same period.

The large inflows of rich individuals expanded the UAE’s millionaire population to 72,100 in 2015.

According to financial experts, the UAE’s position as a preferred hub for the ultra-wealthy is improving, thanks to the country’s favourable business and tax environment.

“The emirates’ favourable tax regime, robust foreign trade, international fiscal relations and legal framework that permits foreigners 100 per cent business ownership, its global position as a travel hub, are just a few of the reasons that make the UAE an ideal destination for the super-rich,” said Andrew Prince, financial planner at DeVere Acuma.

“Other destinations can tick one, or possible two of the above, but only the UAE can tick them all,” he added.

Overall, Australia recorded the highest number of ultra-rich immigrants, estimated to be around 8,000 in 2015 alone.

The United States came in second place, with 7,000 millionaire net inflows, followed by Canada in the third place, attracting 5,000 millionaires. Israel came fifth with 4,000 ultra-rich immigrants.

Rounding off the top eight hotspots are New Zealand in the 7th place and United Kingdom in the 8th position. In terms of total number of millionaires, the US and United Kingdom appear to be the most preferred destinations for the ultra-wealthy, recording 4.2 million and 803,000 in millionaire numbers, respectively.

New World Wealth’s figures showed that the majority of these millionaire migrants came from France, where 10,000 ultra-rich individuals headed the exit door in 2015.

“The large outflow of millionaires from France is notable. [The country] is being heavily impacted by rising religious tensions between Christians and Muslims, especially in urban areas,” New World Wealth said.

“We expect that millionaire migration away from France will accelerate over the next decade as these tensions escalate.”

Other countries are also losing thousands of millionaires.

Approximately 9,000 high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) left China throughout the year and were moving mostly to the US, Canada and Australia.

Huge outflows were also recorded in Italy, where 6,000 millionaires left, as well as in India (4,000), Greece (3,000), Russian Federation (2,000), Spain (2,000) and Brazil (2,000).