By: Joseph Barnett
Recent data shows that high net worth South Africans are leaving the country at a record pace, and an increasingly large number are considering investing in a second citizenship or overseas residency. The data suggests that for every professional immigrating to South Africa, eight professionals are immigrating out of country. The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa provides a simple path to a U.S. Green Card and affords South African with flexibility to plan for their family’s future. Here are the top four reasons the United States is a top destination for South Africans.
1. Culture and Lifestyle. Historically, Australia has been the number destination for South African expats, but the country is becoming less and less friendly to immigrants on a personal level, with many Australians believing it’s time for its liberal immigration policies to end. The United States is a nation of immigrants, and Americans are generally welcoming and friendly. There are numerous cultures and climates South Africans can find in the United States, and a growing number of South African communities are arising in Florida, Georgia, and Southern California. The United States also has millions of acres of farmland at reasonable costs, with international buyers owning more than 25 million acres. It’s possible to live in the United States where your closest neighbor is out sight.
2. Better Opportunities for Children. The United States is internationally known to have the best universities and colleges, with access to new technology and opportunities that don’t exist elsewhere. Foreign students on temporary student visas in America lack the same employment opportunities as those with U.S. Green Cards. The EB-5 Immigrant Investor Visa, in particular, affords complete freedom to live and to work in the area of one’s choice, without the need to continuously seek approval from the U.S. government to continue one’s stay.
3. Economy. It’s not news that the South African economy is struggling and has found itself in an economic recession, with an overall growth rate of 0.8% in 2018. High unemployment, power shortages, and certain governmental policies make it difficult for South Africans to conduct business. On the other hand, the U.S. economy and stock market remain strong, with the unemployment rate at only 4.0% and GDP growth at 3.4% in the third quarter of 2018. Though the U.S. has its fair share of issues, it is still the land of opportunity where anyone who works hard could make a good life for oneself and family. The American Dream is alive and well, with endless employment opportunities and high-paying jobs for well-educated individuals. Likewise, the preservation of wealth is critical for an easy retirement. The United States Dollar is the world’s most sought-after currency, and as the value of the South African Rand (ZAR) continues to decrease, so will any savings held in ZAR. Keep in mind that, as a U.S. green card holder, there are U.S. tax obligation to consider. Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP highly advises South Africans to perform pre-U.S. immigration tax planning to preserve as much wealth as possible.
4. Safety and Security. Safety and security are paramount for one’s well-being, both physically and mentally, and the United States offers both abundantly. While tragic school shootings make international news, most American families send their children to school with complete assurance. Violent crime and property crime has been steadily decreasing in America since the 1990s, particularly away from big cities. However, you should still take precautions to protect yourself and your family, and be aware of your surroundings at all times, especially if you are living in a big city. White collar crimes, such as internet frauds and scams, however, are on the rise, and one must take precautions to protect oneself and family.
5. Health Care. The U.S. is a global leader in cutting-edge health care, and U.S. citizens may qualify for its national health insurance program called Medicare upon reaching 65 years. Life expectancy rates are significantly higher in the United States than South Africa
With two South African expats as Managing Partners and over thirty years in practice, Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP has extensive experience helping South Africans in a variety of areas related to U.S. immigration law. The firm’s attorneys find effective and creative solutions to immigration issues, such as employment-based visas, family-based visas, green cards, and citizenship.