Visa Crunch

Around 6 Lakh Indians Give Up Their Citizenship During Last 5 Years

According to figures from the Ministry of External Affairs, over six lakh Indians have given up their citizenship in the last five years, with 40 per cent of them residing in the United States.

When comparing the number of people who have given up their citizenship to those in the United States, the figures are considerably disparate. The year 2020 saw a record number of persons renounce their US citizenship, with 6,705 renunciations.

Indians in Canada and Australia came in second and third, respectively, in terms of renunciation requests. The total number would also include people who obtained a golden visa, which allows you to invest in countries such as Portugal, Malta, or Cyprus in exchange for residency or citizenship.

As India does not allow dual citizenship, Indians who become citizens of another country must surrender their Indian passport, but they can apply for an Overseas Citizen of India card, which allows them to remain, work, or do business in India.

Since 2017, the number of exits has continuously increased, with 2019 having the highest number of renunciation petitions (1,44,017). There was a steep dip to 85, 248 in 2020, probably due to pandemic shutdowns and travel restrictions, but data for the first nine months of this year indicate it is increasing rapidly again.

According to a report citing Global Wealth Migration Review numbers, 7000 wealthy Indians left in 2019, the most in recent years, accounting for 2% of the country’s high net worth individuals. Another study conducted by AfrAsia Bank focused on persons with a net worth of between $1 million and $9.9 million who moved to a new nation and spent at least half of the year there.

Work, possibilities, tax, and financial concerns were among the reasons HNWIs decided to relocate, according to the research.

When it comes to High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) migration, China led the way with 16,000 exits, followed by India with 7,000, and Russia with 5,500.

According to global citizenship and residence advisory Henley & Partners, the number of Indians enquiring about investment migration programs has increased over the years, with more becoming informed of the ease of buying property in countries such as Greece or Portugal, gaining visa-free access to 26 Schengen zone countries.

Almost 30 countries have systems for obtaining residency and citizenship through investment. While the number of inquiries increased by 30% year on year in the first half of 2021, it increased by 62% in the same period in 2020.

The higher your country’s passport index, the easier your access to many nations without the hassles of immigration and bureaucratic procedures. According to the Henley Passport Index, the Indian passport is currently rated 85th, with visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to only 58 places. In comparison, an Indian who becomes a citizen of Portugal or Greece gains visa-free entry to 84 countries.

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