After several years of solid growth, Australia is now arguably the world’s leading economy, according to a new report from AfrAsia Bank and New World Wealth.
According to the researchers, Australia currently has the fifth highest count of wealth per capita, behind ‘small’ financial hubs like Monaco and Switzerland. Wealth, in this case, refers to a person's net assets. It includes all their assets (property, cash, equities, business interests) minus, less liabilities.
Wealth per person in US$ (wealth per capita)
  • Monaco: $2,087,400
  • Liechtenstein: $761,100
  • Luxembourg: $368,000
  • Switzerland: $354,000
  • Australia: $279,200
  • Norway: $228,000
  • Singapore: $194,500
  • United States: $193,400
  • Canada: $185,300
  • New Zealand: $173,700
The researchers said that the argument could be made that Australia is top of the pile if the smaller financial hubs like Monaco, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, and Switzerland are excluded.
While Australia’s rise in wealth may result from many factors, one of the stand-out reasons for Australia’s climb in per capita wealth is the consistent migration of high net-worth individuals drawn into the country – including many wealthy South Africans.
According to NWW, Australia has attracted more millionaires than any other country over the past few years, showing that many wealthy people feel it is the best long-term prospect.
These are the biggest drivers of wealth in the country:
  • It has consistently been the fastest-growing first-world market over the past 20 years (in terms of economic growth, wealth growth, income growth, and property price growth).
  • Low population density – only 25 million people and large land area.
  • Mineral rich.
  • It is very safe, which encourages wealth growth. Australia was recently rated by New World Wealth as one of the five safest countries for women worldwide (along with Iceland, Malta, New Zealand, and Canada).
  • High and rising real estate prices, especially on the East Coast.
  • Consistent HNWI migration to the country over the past 20 years.
  • Location – it benefits from solid business ties with emerging Asian giants such as China, Japan, and Korea.
Migrating wealth 
According to a recent Sydney Morning Herald articleAustralia has brought billions of dollars in investment by attracting millionaires through its Significant Investor Visa (SIV) program.
Data supplied to BusinessTech by Australia’s Department of Home Affairs (DOHA) showed that these investments equated to around AUD$9.8 billion from 1 July 2017 to 31 March 2018.
One of the critical requirements of the SIV is that holders must invest AUD$5 million (R50 million) into with significant investments for a minimum of four years before being eligible to apply for a permanent visa.
Over the period, 1,974 SIV visas were granted, of which 26 South Africans were accepted.
While Australia’s SIV is one of the more expensive ways of leaving the country, data provided to BusinessTech shows that a much higher amount of South Africans are emigrating to Australia through other visa options.
The data focuses on the ‘permanent additions’ to Australia’s resident population in the 2016-2017 financial year.
This includes the number of people who have obtained a permanent visa onshore, the number of settler arrivals during a given period, and the number of people who have been granted a permanent protection visa onshore.
Combined, this added to a total of 5,397 South Africans over this period. The skill stream is by far the most popular way for South Africans to move to the country, with 4,419 South African applicants applying for this visa type.
By comparison, a total of 672 applicants were on the family stream and 288 on ‘non-programme migration’.

Source: business tech