Indians are taking advantage of golden visa programs. Let’s find out how. Well, many Indians plan to settle down in highly developed countries, despite coming from a country with a fast-growing economy.
A UN report states that, as of September 2019, there are approximately 17.5 million Indian-origin people living outside the country.
Some of the ways hopeful prospects try their luck abroad is by pursuing higher education, taking up job offers, starting a business, and the latest popular route being golden visa programs.
Let’s read further to understand what these programs are and why wealthy Indians are attracted to them.
What are golden visa programs?
A golden visa programme is a type of programme wherein Indians from affluent families make a huge investment in a foreign country in exchange for citizenship and permanent residency.
The investment could be anything from buying a massive property or putting a certain amount of money in a business in the country of their interest.
How did the golden visa program become popular?
As per the latest report by Global Wealth Migration Review, around 2% of the Indians with a high net worth in the country, which is around 5,000 millionaires, left for foreign countries in 2020. India was the third highest country that saw an exodus of hopefuls via investment channels.
That is more than 50% from the last financial year. Most of them had taken this route as there were plenty of lucrative investment opportunities during the pandemic.
Why are people opting for golden visa programs?
Here are some of the reasons why prospects who were part of the exodus so far have taken the investment route to settle down abroad:
- Permanent residency for themselves and their dependents
- Better standards of living and quality of life
- Better economic opportunities
- Improved personal security
- Ensures that the whole family can be together unlike other migration routes (study/work)
- Access to better healthcare facilities
- Visa-free travel options to selected countries
- Permanent entry to the host country
- Second passport
- Exposure to other cultures
- Enrolment of their children in top educational institutions
- Better brand exposure in foreign countries
Who can apply for a golden visa program?
Golden visa programs are open to all Indians. However, you’d need enough funds to secure a place in your country of interest. The cost would be anything from 1 crore upwards!
You will have to prove that the money you’re willing to invest is yours and is earned by you legally. You must also have a solid business plan in hand. The host country needs to be assured that you will bring enough foreign capital to boost businesses in the region.
An easier route, which many Indian applicants are opting for is by investing in a luxury property. One reason being, they’ll be able to rent out this property when they are not in town.
You will also need to meet certain criteria to assure the hosts that your interest in migrating is genuine. Once you send in your application, a core team will evaluate it and contact you for further information, if required.
Once the application is processed, you along with your dependants can move to the country immediately or in a couple of months.
What type of investments can you make?
Here are some of the eligible investments you can make:
- Real estate investment
- Investment in a corporate or enterprise
- Investment funds
- Donations and endowments
Which countries are Indians’ favorites?
As of now, many rich Indians are willing to settle down in Portugal. Other countries in Europe, as well as the US, are current hotspots. One of the important factors in choosing a country is by looking at available investment opportunities.
As the investment required for the Caribbean Islands is much lesser, Indians are favouring countries like Antigua, Dominica, Grenada and St. Kitts.
What are the costs for golden programs?
As mentioned, the golden visa programs to the Caribbean islands are the most affordable. If you are a single applicant, you need to shelve out $140,000 (approximately ₹1 crore), including other charges.
If you have three other members, the cost would be from $180,000 onwards.
Single applicants need to spend a minimum of €280,000 to buy a property in Portugal. For homes in bigger cities like Lisbon, the rates will be a minimum of €500,000.
As far as investment is concerned, to settle in Portugal, investors need to have foreign capital worth €1 million.
The fees are higher in other European countries, especially favourites like the UK and France. When you hire an agency to help you with the application process, you need to find out the total fees and if there are any hidden charges.
What are second passports?
Second passports are the passports that are issued to individuals who get citizenship in another country other than their home country. To secure their investment portfolios from risks and uncertainties in the global market, investors opt for a second passport.
Some countries, like Grenada, are okay if wealthy individuals are willing to make a big donation. This helps the applicant secure travel facilities without visas.
Some of the countries that offer second passport and citizenship are Antigua, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts, and other Caribbean nations; New Zealand, Greece, Malta, Cyprus, Malta, and Portugal.
Are there any requirements to get citizenship?
It is to be noted that investors won’t get citizenship as soon as they arrive in the country. They will have to spend a few years in the country before applying for citizenship. For most countries, the duration will be ten continuous years.
In Greece, the duration is just seven years. You will also come across some countries that offer citizenship almost immediately. Some countries also offer golden visa programs. Allowing prospects to live in the country, without offering them citizenship.
How to choose a company to process your application?
If you are interested to settle down in another country by taking the investment route, then it is advisable to count on reputable agencies or consultancies that have been in the business for years. Go through customer reviews and testimonials to understand the schemes offered and check their track record.
The company you select will tell you the various countries which are currently offering golden visa programs, and which will be beneficial for you in the long run, keeping your finances and requirements in mind.
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