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Simply Save: Key risks one could face in Foreign Residency Programmes & how to avoid them

Residency by investment or alternative residency is fast becoming popular among rich Indians looking to establish a new base for their families in another country. These programs are specific long-term residency or visa programs run by many countries such as the US and Portugal. Shilpa Menon, Senior Director - India at LCR Capital Partners tells Moneycontrol what one should keep in mind when looking for an alternative residency programme. Tune in!

May 02, 2023 / 08:48 AM IST

Here are factors to keep in mind and the key risks one could face

The alternative residency program, also known as residence by investment, offers affluent Indians the ability to relocate and enjoy living, working, and studying in their new country of residence.

As the world adapts to the post-COVID-19 era, wealthy individuals are considering factors such as their health, legacy, and quality of life for their families as key contributors to their overall wealth, in addition to their financial assets.

According to government data, more than 1.6 million Indians have renounced their Indian citizenship since 2011, with 225,620 doing so last year, which is the highest number during this period. However, in 2020, the number was at a low of 85,256 due to processing delays caused by COVID-19 lockdowns.

Today, affluent families are seeking better healthcare, flexible business environments, and access to quality education and professional opportunities.

While not all investors who obtain an alternate residency will choose to emigrate, they seek to create additional options for the future.

Apart from helping you immigrate to another country, residency by investment visas can give your child much better opportunities than a student visa.

Recent government data has shown that over 770,000 Indian students went abroad in 2022, which is the highest number in six years.

Abhinav Kaul of Moneycontrol spoke to Shilpa Menon, Senior Director-India at LCR Capital Partners about the factors to keep in mind when selecting an alternative residency program and the key risks one could face.

LCR Capital has helped over 850 clients move to the US through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program and also works with the Portuguese Golden Visa Program, and the Grenada Citizenship by Investment program.

Here are 12 key points from the conversation with Menon:

1.      In alternative residency, you use investments to secure immigration in an another country.

2.      The most sought-after residency programmes are US EB-5, Canada Start-Up Visa, Portugal Golden Residence, and Malta Permanent Residence Programme.

3.      The minimum investment in EB-5 visa is $800,000, while Portugal’s programme requires investment of €280,000.

4.      Indians, typically, don't want to give up their passports, and are interested in the residency option.

5.      When selecting a programme, look at how long it has been in existence. The older the program, the greater the stability

6.      Look at the track record of the service provider. The number of visas issued and denied can be a good barometer.

7.      Look at the eligibility criteria and investment requirements of each programme, as they can vary considerably.

8.      Also, understand the nature of investment. For example, $800,000 invested under EB-5 must create 10 full-time jobs in the US.

9.      In most instances, the investments in these programmes are in real estate or construction.

10.    Alternative residency programs don't yield great returns. Typically, these would be in the range of 0.25-1.0 percent.

11.    Alternative residency program, by definition, always requires you to take some risks.

12.    Some programs may give returns in the range of 3-4 percent, but that may mean higher risks.

Abhinav Kaul
first published: Apr 26, 2023 06:06 pm