Decoded: Why 2021 saw biggest spike in Indians renouncing citizenship
According to the data, 144,017 people renounced their Indian citizenship in 2019, which is the highest in the past five years. The lowest was in 2020 at 85,248, and that’s likely because of the Covid-19 pandemic. At 11,287, 2021 saw the largest spike in Indians relinquishing their citizenship as global travel and outdoor restrictions began to ease. Data for this year is only available until September 2021.
No dual nationality:
India does not offer dual citizenship, so people seeking citizenship in other countries must relinquish their Indian passport according to the law. Indians who renounce their Indian citizenship can still apply for an Overseas Indian Citizen (OIC) card, which would allow them to enjoy the benefits of residing, working or operating a business in India. According to MHA, a total of 191,609 foreigners registered as OCI card holders in 2020.
It also means that Indians seeking “citizenship by investment” will have to forfeit their Indian passport.
7,000 Indian millionaires left India in 2019
Statistics from the Global Wealth Migration Review show that 2% of Indian millionaires have already flocked overseas in 2020. While China tops the migration list with a total of 16,000 high net worth outflows, India comes in second with 7,000 exits and Russia 5,500 exits.
In fact, Indians are even at the top of a list compiled by Henley & Partners (H&P), a London-based global citizenship and residency consultancy firm, of those applying for citizenship or residency in London. other countries in exchange for monetary investments. Countries like Portugal which run a “golden visa” program as well as countries like Malta and Cyprus are preferred destinations for India’s well-heeled, according to H&P.
Compared to 2019, there was a 63% increase in the number of requests made by Indians for the category of ‘citizenship by investment’, with the main investment-related residency programs being led by Portugal, Canada and Austria.
What is the golden visa and why is it so popular among Indians?
A Golden Visa is a citizenship by investment or residency by investment program aimed at attracting wealthy foreign nationals who wish to acquire residency in a certain country by investing a substantial amount of money or purchasing property.
Currently, only nine countries offer a direct route to citizenship through investment. In recent years, European investment residency migration programs like Malta, Portugal, Greece and other European Golden Visas have gained ground.
According to Henley & Partners, families are now realizing that for 250,000 euros you can buy a house in Greece, Lisbon or Portugal, and at the same time obtain a Schengen residence thanks to which they can also access without a visa to 26 Schengen . Country in the area.
Henley & Partners responded to 62% more requests for Indian Nationals Investment Migration Programs in 2020. In the first half of 2021, there was a 30% increase in requests. Around the world, nearly 30 countries offer residency and / or citizenship-by-investment programs and Indian Nationals and Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) are exploring all avenues available.
Bad passport score
According to the Henley Passport Index, the Indian passport is currently ranked 85th, providing visa-free / visa-on-arrival access to only 58 destinations. Over the past 10 years, India has only improved its Visa Waiver score (the number of countries you can visit visa-free or get a visa on arrival if you have an Indian passport) by five. (compared to 53 in 2011). But a residence card in Greece or Portugal could allow Indians to travel visa-free through Schengen countries, raising their visa-free score to 84.
The higher the ranking of the Passport Index, the better the access to visa-free travel in many countries. They are also exempt from bureaucratic delays in the immigration process, which is beneficial for traders and businessmen.
“The unexpected events of 2020 simultaneously exacerbated push factors such as political and economic instability and redefined pull factors, stability, security and access to education and health care becoming issues of greater concern than ever, ”said Dr Juerg Steffen, CEO of Henley and Partners, in the report.
He added that in terms of gold visa investigations, India remains in the lead in 2020, but the combination of Covid-19 and sustained political unrest saw the United States, which was in 6th place last year, climb to 2nd place (as it dipped in the Henley Passport Index), followed by Pakistan, Nigeria and South Africa.
Renewed focus on security, stability and healthcare
For many countries with low-ranking passports on the Henley Passport Index, the proliferation of barriers to entry is hampering progress, even as many are reopening their borders in desperate attempts to revive economic growth.
Erol Yayboke, senior researcher in the International Security Program and director of the fragility and mobility project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, DC, points out that the continued impact of the pandemic on global human mobility means that there may never be a post-pandemic world to navigate. “Covid-19 is as much an economic crisis as it is a public health crisis, although in both respects it disproportionately affects countries of origin of migration. Increased pressure to move to survive will face pandemic-related travel barriers that are likely to persist, both because the virus itself persists and because increased control over migration will be difficult to relinquish for some leaders. ”
“AstraZeneca’s vaccination against non-replicating viral vectors is currently ranked number one, having been approved by more than 120 countries. Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccination is currently approved in 98 countries, Russia’s Sputnik in 71 countries and Moderna in 69 countries around the world. Your health or vaccination status, sometimes associated with additional passports, may now be even more important to your global access rights than your primary passport is, ”says Kevin Bürchler of the SIP Medical Family Office.
In fact, this is when investment migration programs can provide stability. “For those countries that are able to offer these programs, the security they provide acts as a hedge against the economic volatility that continues to wreak havoc around the world. For more and more people, it stands to reason that acquiring a second citizenship or an alternative residence, or both, is fundamental to a secure and stable future, ”said Dr Juerg Steffen , CEO of Henley & Partners.
In this regard, Canada has emerged as the best performing investment migration country in terms of health management and risk preparedness, with New Zealand in 2nd and Australia a little behind in 3rd place. Four European countries are in the top 10, with Switzerland in 4th place, Austria in 5th place, Italy in 9th place and the UK in 10th place, data from Henley & Partners showed. .