Rich Pakistanis Among World's Top Nationalities Migrating Abroad

Rich Pakistanis ranked third in the world for making inquiries to migrate abroad last year, according to a report by Henley and Partners. High net worth individuals (HNWIs) from India topped the list of those seeking to migrate, followed by Americans and Pakistanis. Pakistan is among nations that experienced "significant wealth outflows" in 2019, according to Afrasia Bank.  There has been a 25% increase in the number of HNWIs enquiring about citizenship-by-investment as opposed to residence-by-investment programs since the coronavirus was first reported nearly a year ago, indicating that wealthy international investors are considering a more permanent change.    

Pakistan Among Countries With Significant Wealth Outflow. Source: Afrasia Bank

In 2019, the UAE initiated a new system for investment-based long-term residence visa called Iqama. It enables foreigners to live, work and study in the UAE without the need of a national sponsor and with 100% ownership of their business on the UAE’s mainland. These visas are issued for 5 or 10 years and will be renewed automatically.

Several countries in Europe and the Caribbean are offering residency visas or a second passport and citizenship. Popular destinations include New Zealand, the Caribbean Islands, Portugal, Malta, Spain, Cyprus and Greece. Requirements for investment-based citizenship vary from country to country but is usually about 10 years of continuous residency. Some countries, like Greece, offer citizenship after a shorter period of 7 years.  Others have no stay requirement at all. European Union (EU) member nations like Cyprus, Greece and Malta offer EU passports. 

Many rich Pakistanis are continuing to flock to the United Kingdom. Recent US FinCEN (Financial Crime Enforcement Network) files show that the United Kingdom (UK) is the biggest global center for money laundering. An earlier report issued by the British Crime Agency put Pakistan among the world's top sources of money laundering in the United Kingdom. 

FinCEN leaks represent just the tip of an iceberg. The leaked 2,100 FinCEN files covering $2 trillion worth of transactions that ICIJ (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists) and Buzzfeed reporters got their hands on represent just a small sliver of the roughly 12 million SARs FinCEN has received since 2011. Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan has repeatedly raised the issue of the West's inaction in stopping the illicit flows of hard currencies from developing nations to the developed world. Money laundering and other financial crimes affect the economic roots of a nation like Pakistan and slow down its human and socioeconomic development.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

South Asia Investor Review

Half a Million Pakistanis Migrating Abroad Each Year

The West Enables Corruption in Developing Nations

Did Musharraf Steal Pakistani People's Money?

Pakistan Economy Hobbled By Underinvestment

Raymond Baker on Corruption in Pakistan

Nawaz Sharif Disqualified

Culture of Corruption in Pakistan

US Investigating Microsoft Bribery in Pakistan

Zardari's Corruption Probe in Switzerland

Politics of Patronage in Pakistan

Why is PIA Losing Money Amid Pakistan Aviation Boom?

Riaz Haq's Youtube Channel

PakAlumni Social Network


Ali said…
there has to be a special place in hell for those who steal from a poor nation.
Riaz Haq said…
Financial crime watchdog adds UAE to 'grey' money laundering watch list

DUBAI, March 4 (Reuters) - Global financial crime watchdog the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Friday said Middle East business hub the United Arab Emirates had been included on a list of jurisdictions subject to increased monitoring, known as its 'grey' list.

In addition to further FATF scrutiny, countries on the 'grey' list risk reputational damage, ratings adjustments, trouble obtaining global finance and higher transaction costs, experts say

The UAE, the region's financial capital and a gold trading hub, will work to implement a FATF action plan to strengthen the effectiveness of its anti-money laundering and counter terrorism financing regime, the Paris-based body said in a statement.

In response to the listing, the UAE government said it had a "strong commitment" to working closely with FATF on areas for improvement.

"Robust actions and ongoing measures taken by the UAE government and private sector are in place to secure the stability and integrity of the country's financial system," the UAE said in a statement.

The UAE, an oil and gas exporter that touts open-for-business credentials and enables glitzy expatriate lifestyles, has in recent years tightened regulations to overcome an image as a hotspot for illicit money.

The designation is a blow for the country as economic competition accelerates with Gulf neighbour Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter and biggest Arab economy.

"The UAE has inherent vulnerabilities to illicit finance due to its role as a regional commercial and financial hub," said Katherine Bauer, senior fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a former U.S. Treasury off

Emirati authorities have made considerable efforts to shore up its anti-money laundering regime and in combating the financing of terrorism, especially since its 2020 assessment by FATF, she said.

"The outstanding items included in the FATF statement today show that there’s still a fair amount to be done. These are not changes that can happen overnight."

A 2020 evaluation by the watchdog called for "fundamental and major improvements" by the UAE. Last year, it founded an Executive Office for Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing after passing an anti-money laundering and terrorism financing law in 2018.

FATF said the UAE has made "significant progress" since the 2020 report on issues around terrorism financing, money laundering, confiscating criminal proceeds and engaging in international cooperation.

"Additionally, the UAE addressed or largely addressed more than half of the key recommended actions from the mutual evaluation report," it said.

The Gulf state must now demonstrate progress on facilitating international anti-money laundering investigations, on managing risks in certain industries including real estate agents and precious stones and metal dealers, and on identifying suspicious transactions in the economy, FATF said.

Other areas for improvement include using financial intelligence against money laundering, increasing investigations and prosecutions of money laundering cases "consistent with UAE's risk profile", and proactively identifying and combating sanctions evasion.

Riaz Haq said…
8,000 HNIs (super rich) may leave India this year. Here's where they are migrating

EU countries, as well as traditional favorites Dubai and Singapore, are gaining popularity among Indians.

The report also showed that the number of US dollar millionaires and billionaires in India will grow by 80% over the next 10 years, while it will only grow by 20% in the US and by 10% in France, Germany, Italy, and the UK.

According to the Henley Private Wealth Migration Dashboard, the UAE is predicted to draw the greatest net inflow of HNWIs globally in 2022 (at least 4,000).

Strict tax rules and reporting requirements in India, as well as the need for stronger passports, remain the primary factors driving the migration, according to the 2018 Henley Global Citizens Report, which follows private wealth and investment migration trends globally.


High-net-worth individuals (HNWIs): People or households who own liquid assets valued between $1 million and $5 million. Very-high-net-worth individuals (VHNWIs): People or households who hold liquid assets valued between $5 million and $30 million.

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