Invest and emigrate
How Indians can find a new life abroad

The great Indian dream of settling abroad is achievable if one has a few crores to invest. Rich nations offer a variety of investment options in a quid pro quo arrangement: immigrants get a better quality of life and revenue from them helps these countries’ finances. Wealthy Indians, troubled by polluted cities and the red tape holding up entrepreneurship, may want a quick ticket out of the country. Sanjay Kumar Singh lists a range of options: from a Canadian province’s investor programme to America’s US EB-5 plan.

Sanjay Kumar Singh, New Delhi, Business Standard
11th September

Indians who dream of emigrating can purchase a better life in a new country—if they have a few crores to invest. Many rich nations offer immigrants a variety of investment options in a quid pro quo arrangement: immigrants get a better quality of life and revenue from them helps these countries’ finances.

Aspiring for a better life

Indians regarded as high net worth individuals (HNIs)--a person with more than Rs 5 crore in investable surplus--have enough reasons to consider emigrating. They don’t want their children to live in the gas chambers that Indian cities have become. As many as seven of the world’s 10 most polluted cities are in India, said a Greenpeace and IQAir AirVisual study in March 2019.

Foreign investors may find India has become an easier place to do business, but for local entrepreneurs compliance requirements have actually increased and petty corruption remains a bugbear. Affluent parents worry that their children, brought up in a cloistered environment, will be unfit for the Indian way of doing business.

Often, young people do not want to return home after studying abroad. Aging parents then opt to emigrate to be with them. As more Indians travel abroad, they get a taste of the quality of life in advanced countries. This, too, stirs within them the desire to emigrate.

“Industrialists who have a net worth of Rs. 100 crore-300 crore are not the ones migrating. They already have well-established international operations, and their children may already be settled outside India. Those migrating today are people who have a net worth in the range of Rs. 3-25 crore,” said Ajay Sharma, principal at Abhinav Outsourcings and an immigration expert.

Invest and go West

Emigration programmes for Northern America begin from Rs. 50 lakh and can go up to Rs. 10 crore-Rs. 15 crore. Canada has become a favoured destination for Indians after the US tightened immigration rules. “It has a large Indian population that is politically strong; Indians are well accepted in Canada. And it has for long had an immigrant-friendly policy that makes people comfortable about going there, unlike the US and large parts of Europe, which have witnessed an upsurge in xenophobic sentiment in recent times,” said Sharma.

The UK, too, remains a favourite destination because of its large Indian diaspora. However, until the dust from Brexit settles down, immigrating to the UK could be difficult. New Zealand and Australia are other favourite destinations.

Two options: Active or Passive Investment Programme

Those wanting to purchase a country’s residency can invest in an active or a passive programme.

For an active investment programme, the investor must be physically present in that country and manage the business on a day-to-day basis.

In a passive investment programme, on the other hand, an investor can purchase real estate, or invest in bonds to earn the residency status of a country. The investor gets her money back after a certain number of years, along with a rate of return that could be fixed or market-linked. The investor is not obliged to run an actual business.

The Quebec Immigrant Investor Programme is a popular passive investment programme run by Canada’s second most populous province. It offers a permanent residency for an investment of Canadian $2 million (about Rs. 10.83 crore).

“This programme is not doing as well today because the investment amount required has gone up. But I expect it to become the most sought-after programme again once the investment required in the US EB-5 programme rises from November,” said Sharma.

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Invest and emigrate

The great Indian dream of settling abroad is achievable if one has a few crores to invest. Rich nations offer a variety of investment options in a quid pro quo arrangement: immigrants get a better quality of life and revenue from them helps these countries’ finances. Wealthy Indians, troubled by polluted cities and the red tape holding up entrepreneurship, may want a quick ticket out of the country. Sanjay Kumar Singh lists a range of options: from a Canadian province’s investor programme to America’s US EB-5 plan.

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