Currently the amount of wealthy Indians seeking a second passport is disappointingly low, especially in comparison to fellow billion-plus populated Asian cousins China. However, with India now the world’s no.1 target for massive foreign investment and the pool of rich Indians expanding at a phenomenal rate, all that might be about to change.
In the past decade, the demand for residency and citizenship to a country other than one’s own has increased year upon year, particularly among the wealthy elite hailing from Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Second citizenship, particularly if it results in ownership of an EU passport, can make life so much easier, especially if one is accustomed to applying for visas whenever they wish to travel.
The largest single group of high net worth individuals seeking second citizenship comes from China. Surprisingly few however hail from China’s Asian neighbor India, a country that has experienced its own spectacular economic growth surge in recent years. India has 84 billionaires, 15,000 multimillionaires ($10 million or more), and several million millionaires, and its wealthy elite looks set to quadruple by the end of this decade.
Few things are more frustrating for an ambitious businessperson than a restrictive passport, and few passports are more restrictive than India’s. With second citizenship becoming “de rigueur” among the elite foreign business sector, those nations offering citizenship and residency programs should brace themselves for what looks to be an imminent Indian invasion!
India Tops 2016 Foreign Investment Table
In 2016 India was the world’s no.1 magnet for foreign investment. Data from the Ministry of Manufacturing and Promotion Policies revealed that during 2016, foreign direct investment into India was $46 billion, an increase of 18% on 2015’s total of $39.32 billion. Not surprisingly for anyone who has rang their bank and found themselves speaking to a call worker in Mumbai, the Indian services sector tops the list of foreign investment with 18%, followed by the construction and computer programs sectors, telecommunications and the automotive industry.
The bulk of foreign direct investment comes from Singapore with $13.69 billion, followed by Mauritius with an investment of $8.35 billion, the United States with $4.19 billion, the Netherlands with $2.64 billion and Japan with $2.61 billion. India continues to be a major success story in the field of long-term economic growth, with the economy growing at a rate of 7.1 percent during the fourth quarter of last year, despite the Indian government’s attempts to withdraw currency from circulation.
India’s Ministry of Finance’s Economic Survey department recently announced that India has enjoyed some $300 billion in foreign direct investment during the period between April 2000 and September 2016, cementing its status as an investment “safe haven” for countries and corporations worldwide. Foreign investment has been essential for India, as it was estimated at the start of the millennium that the country needed close to $1 trillion to repair elements of its infrastructure sector, such as ports, airports and highways in order to promote growth.
Could Trump And Brexit Be A Boost For India?
It is interesting that the rising global fears regarding America’s “protectionist policies” under the presidency of Donald Trump, as well as the potential implications of Britain ‘s withdrawal from the European Union, have actually contributed to make India a preferred destination for global mergers and acquisitions. According to a report issued by the US-based international law firm Baker & McKenzie LLP, M & A (Mergers and Acquisitions) deals within India more than doubled in the past twelve months, and are expected to increase from $17.5 billion in 2016 up to $49.3 billion in 2019.
India’s 1.3 billion inhabitants account for roughly a fifth of the earth’s population. Unlike most established nations whose birth rate is shrinking, leading to an increasingly elderly demographic, India’s population pyramid is dominated by youth. The majority of India ‘s population is aged 35 and under, with the average age of its citizens just 27, resulting in a vast and increasingly skilled and educated work force. Additionally, India is witnessing a significant increase in its consumer market, the result of a rapidly expanding comfortably off middle class that now numbers some 50 million people, or about 5% of the population.
India’s Rapidly Expanding Middle Class
How rapidly is India’s middle class expanding? That figure of 50 million is expected to rise to 200 million people by the year 2020, and hit 475 million people by 2030. India’s middle class is expected to numerically exceed the middle class of China by the year 2027 .
If India’s upper class is only five percent of the figure for its middle class, it is currently at 5 million people. If it expands at the same rate at least, by 2020 it will total 20 million, and by 2030 there will be almost 50 million upper class Indians with vast fortunes, by which time India may well be the world’s largest economy – certainly in the top-3 along with the US and China.
Like China, Indian citizens are hamstrung by a dreadfully weak passport, which allows visa-free travel to just 49 countries, two less than China. Compare that total with that of Germany’s passport, which grants its holder visa-free access to 177 countries worldwide. The German passport is the most powerful in the world, but all EU passports have access to 160-or more countries without the need of a visa. Even the passports of tiny Caribbean island nations like St Kitts and Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda have access to more than 130 countries.
It’s no surprise that the largest single demographic of people wishing to acquire second citizenship – and a much more powerful passport – is the affluent Chinese market. With its rapidly increasing economy and expanding middle and upper classes, expect a dramatic surge in the demand for second citizenship from India in the months and years to come, that will equal and eventually surpass that of China.
Indian Investor Visa
Interestingly, the Indian government has recently approved a new law allowing the establishment an Indian Investor Visa program, allowing foreign investors to live in India as permanent residents for an initial period of 10 years.
To be eligible to take advantage of this program, an individual would need to invest $1.5 million in a business for at least 18 months, or $3.7 million for three years. The business would need to employ at least 20 Indians residing inside the country. Investors would also be able to purchase residential properties, and their residency could be extended each time for a further ten years. For more details on this program, be sure to contact 2ndPassports.com.
If you are an Indian citizen who has been considering obtaining second citizenship, 2ndPassports.com are here to help and advise you. Go to our homepage and you will see a large selection of the very best residency and citizenship programs from the EU, the Caribbean plus other parts of the world. We can advise you on the programs that appeal to you, and help you make the right choice.
Feel free to contact us via email, WhatsApp or Telegram. If you prefer you can chat to one of our expert representatives directly – you can call us using our encrypted phone and Skype lines. All of our contact details are listed at the top of the 2ndPassports.com homepage.
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