Investment visas or golden visas -- where a couple of million dollars of investment in another country buys you a permanent residency -- are increasingly the picks among high net-worth individuals (HNIs) and other wealthy Indians as they consider a more trans-national existence after the pandemic rudely awoke them to the risks of putting all their eggs in one basket.
Those with the means to open up avenues abroad for themselves across the spectrum of business owners, new-age entrepreneurs, corporate executives and skilled professionals, be they for wealth diversification, expanding business operations, setting up alternative residencies, or just pursuing a better life, are gravitating towards it.
"One of the biggest reasons for business people to go for it is to have a backup to feel secure. Tomorrow, if there's another pandemic or anything else happens, they'd like to have a permanent residency overseas," says Clint Khan, Director, Y-Axis Middle East DMCC, an immigration and visa consultant services company.
Nirbhay Handa, who is the Group Head of Business Development at the residence and citizenship planning company Henley & Partners, agrees. "Maybe there will be another crisis, be it a war as we have seen in Russia or a political crisis, or invasive fiscal policies hindering wealth preservation as we see in the US," he says.
The Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program, the Australian Global Talent Independent Visa, the US EB5, the Malta Permanent Residence Programme and the Greece Golden Visa Program are among the most sought-after investment programmes by Indians for residency, according to a report by residence and citizenship planning company Henley & Partners. Ultra-high net worth individuals from India, the US and UK accounted for the bulk of investment migration inquiries in 2021, the firm said.
Echoing Handa, wealth management service Julius Baer India's head of Wealth Planning Sonali Pradhan points out that 70-80 per cent of such individuals have created an alternative residency option for themselves and are ready to move if a major disruption occurs.
This also serves as a tool for wealth diversification in the face of macro instabilities. A European PR, for instance, requires you to make one investment in an asset class, which garners some return on investment in addition to giving you a Schengen residency. "Clients do one investment which gets them the visa, but once that's in the making or already done, they start to do more," says Nysa Global Managing Director Pankaj Joshi. He advises clients on expanding their global footprints, most of who have Rs 20-50 crore surplus investible amount and belong to the 45-55 years age group.
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