Chinese millionaires innundate Australian property


The Visual Capitalist has mapped the migration of the world’s millionaires in 2023.

High Net Worth Individuals (HNWIs) are defined as individuals with a net worth of at least $1 million USD.

As shown in the graphic below, Australia received the most millionaire migrants (+5,200), while China (-13,500) and India (-6,500) lost the largest number of millionaire migrants:

Millionaire migrants

Most of Australia’s millionaire migrants would have come from China.

The impact has been felt in Australia’s property market.

According to recent research from Juwai IQI, Australia has surpassed Canada as the top destination for Chinese property buyers seeking education and migration prospects in Australia.

“Education and quality of life for full-time residency is what makes Australia and the other top countries so desirable”, Juwai IQI co-founder and group managing director Daniel Ho said.


“They are buying here because they intend to live here. They are looking at houses and townhouses and larger apartments”.

Australia’s Significant Investor Visa (SIV) program – affectionately named “Golden Ticket Visas” – allowed wealthy foreigners to purchase Australian citizenship by investing $5 million into qualifying assets or ventures.

These visas had been used primarily by the Chinese, who have accounted for nearly 90% of SIVs issued:

Golden Ticket Visas Issued

The Albanese Government announced last year that the SIV visa program would be axed.

This followed a raft of other developed nations that had already shut such “golden ticket” visa schemes down.

Australia’s Productivity Commission (PC) had for years also called for golden ticket visas to be axed, arguing they are conduits for money laundering and ‘dirty money’ flows into Australia.


Closing the SIV program down is a good move since there were few checks and balances in place with these visas. There was no rigorous background checks performed on the person applying or whether the source of their money was legit. There was also also no requirement to speak English, work or contribute to society.

With the scheme’s axing, we may also have seen the high water mark for migrant millionaires arriving in Australia.

That said, the Chinese bid on Australian property, that reached a fever pitch in 2016/17, was largely cut off by Chinese capital controls, not Australia any measures by Australia. China is now busy opening loopholes:


China is taking steps to loosen strict capital-control measures in its two most important cities amid efforts to win back foreign companies as overseas investment slumps and the economy slows.

In Shanghai’s pilot free-trade zone and Lingang area, foreign investors are now allowed to freely transfer their investment-related funds in or out of China without any delay should the money be “real and compliant,” authorities in the financial hub said in a set of rules that took effect on Sept. 1.

Beijing has also proposed similar regulations for the whole city, according to drafted rules published Wednesday that are now seeking public feedback.

The long-suffering of Australians without a roof over their heads shows no sign of abating.

About the author
Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. He is also a co-founder of MacroBusiness. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.