Estimated 8,000 millionaires immigrated to Canada last year, report says

Canada attracted an estimated 8,000 millionaires last year, trailing only Australia and the United States on the list of top destinations, according to a recent report from New World Wealth.

France cited as source of largest number of wealthy migrants

Canada attracted just under 10 per cent of the estimated 82,000 millionaire migrants who changed country last year, according to a recent report. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Canada attracted an estimated 8,000 millionaires last year, trailing only Australia and the United States on the list of top destinations, according to a recent report from New World Wealth.

Australia drew 11,000 millionaires, while the U.S. received 10,000, the report says.

New World Wealth said the inflows into Canada were boosted by large-scale migration from China into Vancouver, and from Europe into Toronto and Montreal.

A South Africa-based market research group, New World Wealth said the overall number of millionaires on the move last year around the world rose to 82,000 from 64,000 in 2015.

Improved education and higher personal safety were the main drivers when those wealthy people sought out a new destination, Andrew Amoils, head of research at New World Wealth, told CNBC.

"They want the best schools for their children and to feel safe," he said. "Climate, health care and cleanliness all follow those top two."

While Australia, the U.S. and Canada make up the top three destinations for the wealthy migrants, France, China and Brazil are the top sources of them.

New World Wealth said about 12,000 millionaires left France, with Amoils telling CNBC they left the country because of high taxes on the wealthy and growing tension over religion.

About 9,000 millionaires departed China, while 8,000 left Brazil, the report says.

"At least in China, the millionaires who are leaving are being replaced by an ever larger number of new millionaires," Amoils said. "But you could argue that France is not creating as many, so it's a cause for concern."

The report covers only millionaires who moved to a country for at least half a year. It doesn't look at those who acquire property or get citizenship in a country but rarely live there, Yahoo reported.

For the report, a millionaire is defined as those with at least $1 million US in assets, without counting their primary residence.

In 2015, Canada began a pilot program to attract 60 millionaires to the country. However, as of January 2016, the program had brought in only seven applications.

Australia launched a similar program in 2012 to encourage the arrival of wealthy migrants.

In its report, New World Wealth said Australia's location makes it a good base for doing business in emerging Asian countries such as China, Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, Vietnam and India.