Visa Crunch

Affluent Indians move towards Golden Visas for stable accommodation and citizenship

Wealthy Indians are exploring golden visa schemes, which provide them with accommodation and citizenship for the purpose of investing heavily, as they seek attractive and stable accommodation for their families.

The number of Indians seeking to relocate by investment route has more than doubled during the pandemic since last year, surpassing the global growth rate by 50%, consultants said.

“Demand from Indian clients has always been very strong, but since the pandemic, demand has increased from all over the world, including Indians,” said Elizabeth Edwards, marketing manager at La Vida Golden Visas, the UK. The gold visa caters to high net-worth individuals (HNIs) who want to obtain residency in another country by investing in a business or by purchasing a property.

The Portuguese residency visa system is very popular among Indians who want to immigrate to Europe. For many Indians, links to international business and children’s education in high schools or universities in Europe, the UK, or the US, are some of the key factors in driving their decision-making for investment visa schemes.

India saw the third-highest outflow of wealthy individuals last year. About 5,000 millionaires, or 2% of India’s most affluent population, left the country in 2020, according to the Global Wealth Migration Review report. Immigration advisers say the passports have become a new safe haven, providing security and protection of property for families. A second passport, which offers a dual nationality status, is a must for any full-fledged investor to deal with global problems and uncertainties.

In terms of cost, Caribbean programs are less expensive. Individual applicants are required to spend a total of $ 140,000 (approximately ₹ 1 crore), including fees, and a family of four can apply from $180,000 upwards. European systems are very expensive. The entry-level for the purchase of golden visa assets in Portugal is $280,000.

There are many countries in Europe and the Caribbean that offer residency programs or a second passport and nationality. The preferred countries are New Zealand, the Caribbean Islands, Portugal, Malta, Spain, Cyprus and Greece.

Nationality, however, is not guaranteed even if you get a golden visa. To obtain citizenship in an EU country with a golden visa, the applicant must spend some time residing there. Nationality requirements for investment vary from country to country but are usually 10 years of permanent residence. Some countries offer citizenship after a short period of time (such as Greece, after seven years) with or without permanent residence requirements.

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