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Canada received 8,000 millionaire migrants in 2016: study

A Canadian passport is displayed in Ottawa on Thursday, July 23, 2015. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick)

While Canada is known for being a beacon for migrants looking for a better life around the world, it’s also becoming a destination for the wealthy.

According to a new report from market research group New World Wealth, an estimated 8,000 millionaires moved to the country last year.

That number put it third overall, behind Australia and the U.S., who received 11,000 and 10,000 new arrivals with seven-figure bank accounts respectively.

Overall, Canada welcomed more than 320,000 migrants into the country from July 1, 2015 to the same date the following year.

And that will continue in 2017, as Canada is planning to grant permanent residency to a minimum of 300,000 people.

The report also found that millionaires globally are uprooting at an increasing pace, with 82,000 emmigrating last year, up from 64,000 in 2015.

Andrew Amoils, head of research at New World Wealth, told CNBC that millionaires are primarily drawn by the prospects of a better education for their kids and improved personal safety.

“They want the best schools for their children and to feel safe,” he said.

“Climate, health care and cleanliness all follow those top two.”

The report said that part of Australia’s appeal is its location near Asia, which makes it a good headquarters to do business in emerging markets, such as Hong Kong, South Korean, Singapore and Vietnam.

The authors also pointed to its robust health care system and relative immunity to “the turmoil in the Middle East and the related refugee crisis in Europe.”

The report said millionaires could also be flocking to Australia because they see it an opportunity to grow their fortune. It indicated that over the past 10 years, total wealth in Australia has jumped by 85 per cent compared to 30 per cent in the U.S. and 28 per cent in the U.K.

“As a result, the average Australian is now significantly wealthier than the average U.S. or U.K. citizen, which was not the case 10 years ago,” said the authors.

In 2012, Australia also created a new type of visa for wealthy foreigners who commit to investing millions in the economy.

Canada launched a similar effort as a pilot project in 2014, but, as of last year, it had only lured seven applicants and led to no permanent resident visas.

Meanwhile, countries such as France, China and Brazil are seeing a mass exodus of millionaires to the tune of 12,000, 9,000 and 8,000 respectively.

Amoils told CNBC that millionaires are fleeing France because of elevated taxes on the wealthy and growing religious tensions.

“At least in China, the millionaires who are leaving are being replaced by an ever larger number of new millionaires,” he said.

“But you could argue that France is not creating as many, so it’s a cause for concern.”

The authors also cited these religious tensions as reasons for the millionaire flight to Australia, Canada and the U.K.

The report only included millionaires who move to a country for at least six months. It did not track those who acquire property or citizenship in a country, but rarely live there.