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Covid exodus? Rich Indians are ‘ready to splurge crores’ to escape to foreign lands

Global citizenship & residency advisory firm Henley & Partners says queries from Indians about ‘investment migration’ programmes have doubled since 2019.

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New Delhi: Wealthy Indians are increasingly looking for a potential escape to foreign countries, with Covid-19 likely playing a role in their hunt for alternative abodes.    

According to leading global citizenship and residency advisory firm Henley & Partners, from January 2020 to date, there has been a 111 per cent increase in the number of inquiries from Indians about investor-related visas and citizenship programmes as compared to the same period last year. 

Henley & Partners, which opened its first Indian office in Mumbai this month, was replying to queries from ThePrint about a new global trend that has seen many wealthy people seek foreign shores on the basis of their Covid preparedness even if it costs a pretty penny. 

The company caters to high-net-worth (HNW) and ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) individuals and deals with “investment migration”, which refers to citizenship and residency programmes that countries offer to individuals in exchange for crores in investments. 

Their clients include entrepreneurs and investors, top-level managers, and celebrities from the fashion, entertainment and sports worlds. It also frequently provides services to other consulting and law firms, private banks and other professionals in the private wealth management industry.

Dominic Volek, the global head of sales at Henley & Partners, said in a phone interview that it was a “dramatic increase” in Indian clients that had led the company to set up base in India. The company also has two offices in Singapore and Dubai.

“When we started dealing with Indian clients four-five years ago, the country was not even in the top ten source markets. Now it is in the top three,” Volek added. 

According to Henley & Partners’ public relations director Paddy Blewer, Covid-19 “has slowed down the actual execution and processing of applications, but engagement numbers are still good, so we anticipate that more applications will be filed once the lockdown eases”.


Also Read: ‘Raise our taxes’, millionaires around the world are asking their govts. Here’s why


Investment migration

Investment-related visa and citizenship programmes allow applicants to live, work, and study in a particular country with some conditions. 

For example, in New Zealand, different kinds of residence permits can be obtained through investments of NZD 3 million-NZD 10 million (approx. Rs 14.91 crore-Rs 49.71 crore) over a three-four-year period.  

In Malta, an island located in the Mediterranean Sea, one needs to invest in government bonds of 250,000 (Rs 2.16 crore) to be “retained for a minimum period of five years” and needs to purchase property worth 320,000 (Rs 2.77 crore) 

The pandemic connection

Speaking to ThePrint, Volek said clients are specifically looking at the pandemic response and preparedness of different countries before choosing which one to invest in. 

Blewer added, “Countries like New Zealand, Australia are most sought-after across the globe. Based on actual India applications received, the top five most popular programmes have been Portugal, Malta, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Canada.”

Grenada has had no positive Covid cases over the last two weeks. St. Kitts and Nevis just had one positive case, and Malta had four cases. However, Portugal has had 4,039 cases and Canada 5,139 cases in the past two weeks. 

Asked about the major reasons people opt for such investment programmes, Volek said the motivation can be lifestyle-driven, or just aimed at securing a “plan-B”, in case the citizens do not want to give up their original citizenship but want a safe option in the face of difficult situations in the future.


Also Read: Saudi Arabia, Russia, UK, Germany hope to ‘wow’ citizens with Covid staycations


 

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Please show the borders of our country correctly. This is a offence showing incorrect map of India.

    Please see the Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh region.

  2. The Indian government should identify such HNW and UHNW individuals who want to invest their money in other countries, the same money they earned in India and forbid these guys the benefits of dual citizenship. Such individuals are like the rats in the ships wo jump into the sea on realizing that the ship is in trouble. Such individuals are real anti-nationals. Why can’t these guys do something to imrove the lives here in India?

    • It will be dictatorship. Ok for a country like Pakistan.
      Though I have no plans to invest outside India, definitely not in exchange for a citizenship.

    • We need to have the Islamic Bearded Prime Minister Mullah Modi address the root of the problem. THe political class pay ZERO TAX, while the non political class has to bear their expenses.

      THere is tax terrorism. Remember dividends are AFTER TAX DISTRIBUTED money, they should never have been taxed. But they are tax AT FULL RATE TWICE. This is outright betrayal of the investor community while the likes of Ambani , Adani get discounted purchases of public amenities like airports and seaports.

      People are moving abroad because they dont want to fall to be another victim like Cafe Coffee Day founder who was harassed.

      BJP should have done away with Income Tax and taken Arthakranthi’s recommendation, instead of they are driving people out along with their money.

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