August 24, 2022

Grenada, also known as the Island of Spice, is a true Caribbean paradise. The island country is quite famous for the calming vibes it offers. What if you come to know that it can be your second home?

It is possible to get the coveted passport of Grenada. The government of Grenada offers a fantastic opportunity to those interested in getting settled in Grenada. In this blog, we’ll walk you through the process of how to get citizenship by investment in Grenada. So, let’s get started!

Grenada citizenship by investment requirement

If you choose the path to citizenship by investment, you don’t have to be in the country, take any kind of exams or know the language to apply for citizenship. The Grenada citizenship by investment program is a government initiative designed to attract foreign investors and their families to the country. The program offers two investment options:

  1. The applicant has to invest a minimum of $220,000 in government-approved real estate projects in the country. Additional costs like due diligence, submission, and processing fee are the ones the applicant must bear. The locking period for the property purchased is five years after which it can be sold by the applicant.
  2. The applicant must make a non-refundable contribution of $150,000 to the National Transformation Fund (NTF). The investment depends upon a confluence of factors like the number of dependents on the applicant and the dependents’ age. Additional costs like due diligence, filing fee, and review fee are the ones the applicant must bear.

Who is eligible for the program?

To be eligible, you must be a foreign national having attained an age of 18 years, and you must invest as mentioned above. You must also have a clean criminal record and be able to provide proof of your net worth to show that you have the financial resources to support yourself and your family.

If you meet all the requirements, then you’re in luck! The process of applying for citizenship is relatively straightforward, and acquiring Grenada citizenship for Indian is easy. The processing time is approximately six months. It might be a little more than that.

Benefits of Grenada citizenship

Well, for starters, you will have access to all the benefits of being a Grenadian citizen. The finest one is that you become eligible to apply for an E2 visa (issued for up to five years) in the United States of America. That means the investor and his family have the right to do work or business or study there. Your Grenadian passport can even get you a B1/B2 visa for up to 10 years.

You can travel visa-free to over 146 countries, including the UK and the Schengen area. Even China allows citizens of Grenada to stay up to 30 days per year without a visa.

Another huge perk is that any kind of capital gains, wealth and inheritance, and revenue earned outside Grenada by you is not taxable. And you will be able to pass on your citizenship to your children and grandchildren.

Conclusion

The citizenship of Grenada offers a relaxed lifestyle and financial freedom, which can be a boon to investors having funds, to enjoy a better life and their hard-earned money.

June 1, 2021

By removing the Trump administration proposal that aimed to kill the initiative, the Biden administration wants to resurrect an immigration program that allows foreign entrepreneurs to operate in the United States.

The International Entrepreneur law, which was then proposed by President Barack Obama’s administration three days before he left office in 2017, enables foreign entrepreneurs to work in the United States for up to five years if their start-ups can raise at least $250,000 from the venture capital in the United States, recruit ten employees, or meet other criteria.

As part of its attempts to revive the program, the Biden administration intends to market it. These actions are in response to demands from venture capital firms, which want the administration to support a program that would encourage thousands of foreign start-up founders to relocate to or stay in the United States to expand their ventures.

The Biden Administration is unlocking an enormous job growth opportunity by incorporating the International Entrepreneur Rule, which will help the United States remain the global leader in innovation,” said Bobby Franklin, the group’s president and chief executive.

“Immigrants in the United States have a long history of entrepreneurship, hard work, and creativity, and their contributions to this nation are incredibly valuable,” said Acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Tracy Renaud.

Currently, there is no visa available for start-up founders in the United States, despite the widespread bipartisan support for the concept. Other visa types must be used for foreign entrepreneurs, but none are ideal.

Between 2017 and 2019, USCIS received only 30 applications for the program, with only one being accepted, according to a USCIS official.

According to USCIS, if the program is properly implemented, about 3,000 international entrepreneurs would qualify per year, resulting in the creation of about 100,000 jobs over a ten-year period.

This article is contributed by Ms. Dishita Sheth, Intern at Ajmera Law Group 

May 1, 2021

The Main Points to be noted for this ban are: 

(i) President Biden has issued a proclamation imposing a COVID-19 public health travel ban on foreign nationals with a recent physical presence in India. This same type of travel ban is already in effect for Brazil, China, Iran, Ireland, countries in the European Schengen Area, South Africa, and the United Kingdom.

(ii) Starting at 12:01 am EDT on May 4, 2021, foreign nationals who have been physically present in India within 14 days of travel to the United States will be barred from entry, unless they qualify for an exception.

(ii) Consular operations in India are at a significantly reduced capacity due to the COVID pandemic, so those seeking exceptions to the new ban from a U.S. consulate are likely to experience delays and challenges.

Today, President Joseph Biden issued a presidential proclamation imposing a COVID-19 public health travel ban which prohibits the entry of foreign nationals who have been physically present in India within 14 days of their travel to the United States.  The India ban restrictions take effect at 12:01 am EDT on May 4, 2021.

However following people will not be affected:

  • U.S. citizens and nationals;
  • U.S. lawful permanent residents;
  • Spouses of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents;
  • A foreign national who is the parent or legal guardian of an unmarried U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident under the age of 21;
  • A foreign national who is the sibling of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, provided they are both under 21;
  • A foreign national who is the child, foster child or ward of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States on an IR-4 or IH-4 visa;
  • A foreign national traveling at the invitation of the U.S. government for a purpose related to containment or mitigation of the COVID-19 virus;
  • A foreign air or sea crewmember;
  • Certain A, C, E-1 (TECRO or TECO employees), G, and NATO nonimmigrants or whose travel falls within the scope of section 11 of the United Nations Headquarters Agreement;
  • A foreign national whose entry would further important U.S. law enforcement objectives;
  • A foreign national whose entry would be in the national interest; and
  • Members of the U.S. armed forces and their spouses and children.

An updated guideline will be issued by the US  government which may allow the travel of those Indian citizens who can apply for travel to the US under the national interest exception.

For more information and legal opinion contact our office.

December 24, 2020

Insightful tips for parents wanting to send their children to study in the U.S. | obtain USA green card and eventual citizenship 

Introduction:

The economic policy of India has been progressive since 1993 for inbound investment, and from 2007 onwards for outbound investment and remittance. As for outbound investment, the first wave of investment was by Indian multinationals who had the financial means and resources to invest outside of India.

The introduction of the Liberalized Remittance Scheme (LRS) generated opportunity and facilitated the entry of Indian SMEs into the outbound investment arena. This was the second wave of investors.

What we are witnessing in recent times is the third wave of investors comprising of Indian HNIs and UNHIs who are investing outside of India. As per the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), this investment/remittance amount was $19 billion US last year alone.

It is obvious that Indian multinationals are well served by top Indian and global professionals due to the size of the deal and investment made.

However, when it comes to Indian SMEs, Start-Ups and HNIs, professional help may not always be forthcoming and if available, may not be erudite. Investing outside of one’s country requires in-depth knowledge not only of the laws, rules and regulations governing such investments, but also the economic and financial climate of the destination of the investment and the various investment opportunities this destination has to offer.

It is with this objective that we are starting this monthly “How and Why to invest in ….” series, wherein we will be taking a closer look at the different investment destinations around the world.

We start this month with one of the most favored investment destinations for Indians – The United States of America.

  1. Why do Indian HNIs regard the USA as a favoured investment destination?

ANS:  USA is unquestionably the largest economy in the world. The U.S. has retained its position of being the world’s largest economy since 1871. The size of the U.S. economy was at $20.58 trillion in 2018 in nominal terms and is expected to reach $22.32 trillion in 2020.

The U.S. is often dubbed as an economic superpower and that’s because the economy constitutes almost a quarter of the global economy, backed by advanced infrastructure, technology, and an abundance of natural resources.

The second reason why the U.S. is an economic powerhouse is because a majority of consumer brands created in the USA are household names globally. This makes people to look at the USA more favourably than other countries. The notion of the “American Dream’ and “Rags to Riches” stories of many of its wealthy citizens is also a great crowd puller.

The third most important aspect is the American education system. American universities and colleges attract the largest number of students from all over the world. As an after-effect, many parents of these students and business persons follow their children to make investments in the USA.

I believe this is what makes the USA a very desirable and favourable destination for Indian HNI parents and businesspersons for investment purposes as compared to other countries.

  1. In what type of asset classes can one invest in the USA?

ANS: USA is a free economy and one can make investment in all types of asset classes and businesses as long as it does not constitute an illegal activity. One question I am often asked is if Indians can purchase agricultural land in the USA. The simple answer is, “YES”. Foreigners can certainly purchase agricultural land in the USA.

 

One important note: When investing in the USA, one needs to consider the Indian legal perspective too; the types of assets Indian citizens are allowed to invest in, as well as the U.S. laws governing these investments.

 

For example, if an Indian citizen decides to invest in a U.S. Green Card under the EB-5 category, he/she needs to follow Indian laws regarding remittance of money and the U.S. immigration laws which govern this type of investment.

 For ease of understanding, we can broadly divide investments in the USA in four different categories:

  • Financial markets and related products
  • Real estate – All types
  • Business and Start-up
  • Second passport
  1. What are the applicable laws for Indian citizens who wish to invest in U.S. financial markets?

ANS: The RBI is responsible for regulating the outbound investment/remittance of funds by Indian citizens. The provision is made in the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) and regulations are made therein. There are two available options:

  • Indian businesses having a company or partnership firm can invest up to 400% of the net assets of the Indian company for making an investment outside of India in a Joint Venture company (JV) or a Wholly Owned Subsidiary (WOS) without RBI permission under the automatic route. However, there are many terms and conditions attached and one must look closely at this provision, or better still, seek appropriate legal counsel.
  • An Indian citizen can remit/invest up to $250,000 US in a variety of assets outside of India under the LRS scheme. The permissible capital account transactions by an individual under the LRS are:
  1. Opening of foreign currency account abroad with a bank
  2. Purchase of property abroad
  3. Making investments abroad – acquisition and holding shares of both listed and unlisted overseas company or debt instruments
  4. Acquisition of qualification shares of an overseas company for holding the post of Director
  5. Acquisition of shares of a foreign company towards professional services rendered or in lieu of Director’s remuneration
  6. Investment in units of Mutual Funds
  7. Venture Capital Funds
  8. Unrated debt securities
  9. Promissory notes
  10. Setting up Wholly Owned Subsidiaries and Joint Ventures
  11. How can one invest in U.S. financial markets?

ANS: There are a number of ways by which Indian citizens can make an investment in U.S. financial markets. Let me explain in brief:

  • An Indian financial institute is providing some products to make an investment in the USA. Preferred for investments of $200,000 US and above.
  • One may approach a U.S. licensed broker or financial advisor or portfolio manager and make an investment. Preferred for investments of $100,000 US and above.
  • There are now online platforms (FinTech start-up) and American sub-brokers who have started arriving in the Indian market. They can assist in making investments in the USA with several facilities. Preferred for investors with smaller ticket size of $1000 US and above.
  • There are platforms available where one can make Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) investment in global products with ticket size of only $200 US (similar to the Indian mutual fund market).
  • There are also multi–stock market platforms available which can offer access to 50+ stock markets around the world from a single account. Suitable for ticket size of $500 US and above. However, the investor needs to perform his/her own transaction. A demo version is available to get acquainted with the platform. This is suitable for savvy investors who wish to save on brokerage. It is also recommended for Indian stock exchange brokers who can have a white label of this platform and offer their clients access to more than 50 stock markets globally right here in India.
  1. How is the U.S. financial market likely to fare post COVID-19?

ANS: As the COVID-19 outbreak gripped the entire world in March 2020, stock market prices plunged globally. Then, in a move that seemed irrational to some observers, the markets bounced back.

As per a leading economist, “Markets decline when there’s unexpectedly bad news and rise when there’s unexpectedly good news”.

Nevertheless, when we analyze the market sector wise, we see that certain sectors such as hospitality and travel are not doing very well and their stock prices are going down. On the other hand, tech companies are doing very well.

The dominance of major U.S. Tech Stocks in recent years has pushed the sector past another milestone as it is now valued at more than $9.1 trillion US, which is more than the entire European stock market, according to Bank of America global research.

In today’s complex economy, this once again confirms the view that stock markets are not the best indicators of a country’s economy. Therefore when it comes to investing in stock markets, one should look closely at individual sectors, individual companies and the factors that affect stock prices, rather than just looking at the overall market performance and indices.

  1. What is FATCA and how is it applicable to investments made in the USA?

ANS:  The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) is part of a broad initiative by the United States to combat offshore tax evasion by U.S. taxpayers. The goal of the law is not to increase revenues for the U.S. Treasury, but rather to collect information on U.S. taxpayers that invest in foreign financial institutions and foreign entities.

FATCA requires a U.S. withholding agent (generally defined as any U.S. party that is making a payment of interest, dividends, certain capital gains, etc.) to withhold 30% of a payment made to certain foreign entities.

Thus FATCA is more of a reporting requirement of the U.S. government. Thus if you invest in the USA, you will be required to file tax returns. When you sell your assets, there may be a withholding tax which may be claimed back by declaring a U.S. non-resident tax status or adjust against tax liability in India.

 What are the opportunities for Indian stockbrokers in the USA?

ANS: There is a tremendous opportunity for Indian stock brokers in the USA and other financial markets of the world. Unfortunately, the Indian financial industry focuses on only one aspect of the economy, which is inbound investment.

Due to advances in technology, it is now possible to access not one but several stock markets of the world right from the comfort of your home or office with just a click. With some effort and will, it is easy to enter into these markets.

Just imagine – more than $19 billion US were remitted/invested by Indians outside of India with negligible advisory services from the Indian financial market and professionals.

If professionals associated with or working for the Indian financial markets take due interest and understand the importance of overriding the political and currency risk by investing in more than one country and in more than one currency, I have no doubt that this market can grow many folds.

I am more than confident that in a few years Indian investors will consider foreign investment as a mandatory part of their investment portfolio.

Indian stock brokers will benefit greatly by expanding their worldview and urging their clients to invest in markets outside of India. Proper understanding and knowledge of how this can be done is the need of the hour.

  1. How is the U.S. real estate market at present?

ANS: Just like the financial market, the U.S. real estate market is the backbone of the U.S. economy.

After six years of strong house price growth, the U.S. housing market is cooling. The S&P/Case-Shiller seasonally-adjusted national home price index rose by just 3.13% during the year to Q2 2019 (1.46% inflation-adjusted) – the lowest growth since Q3 2012. House prices increased 2.29% during the latest quarter (1.52% inflation-adjusted), according to S&P/Case-Shiller.

Despite this, 19 of the 20 major U.S. cities continued to experience moderate to minimal house price hikes, according to Standard and Poor’s.

The post COVID period has created some very good opportunities for repossessed properties.

At the same time, one must note that the USA is a country that attracts one of the largest foreign investment into real estate in the world. Foreign investment in U.S. real estate was almost $74 billion US in 2019. The three most popular states for foreign real estate investment in the USA are – New York and Florida on the east coast and California on the west coast.

 How can one invest in U.S. real estate?

ANS: The RBI allows Indian citizens to make investments in foreign real estate. One can directly contact a real estate agent or developer in the USA and make an investment. There are many real estate agents and developers who come to India regularly to solicit investment in their projects.

The U.S. real estate market is highly regulated when it comes to selling and buying real estate but one still needs to be careful and seek professional help. One more important point that investors must note is that in the residential sector, only licensed real estate agents can assist in buying and selling real estate in the USA.

Abundant data is available on the internet pertaining to the U.S. real estate market. It is therefore very easy to obtain a lot of information online regarding the property under consideration.

  1. How can one decide which real estate to invest in?

ANS: USA is a very big market. Hence investors need to do their homework well. Deciding which state and city to invest in, how much to invest and personal preferences (house, condo, row house, downtown, suburbs) is generally influenced by the presence of family and friends in the USA.

A budget of $300,000 US can allow an investor to buy real estate in many states of the USA and it is a good starting point.

  1. Is it possible to obtain a mortgage for investing in real estate in the USA?

ANS: Yes, it is possible to obtain a mortgage for purchasing real estate in the USA from selected brokers who specialize in mortgages for foreign investors.

  1. How can one establish a business in the USA?

ANS: When it comes to establishing a business in the USA, there are two aspects to consider:

  • Do you want your company to have a presence in the U.S. and hire local workforce?

In this case, a company, with only one director, can be registered in any state in the USA within four weeks. One can also obtain all types of tax ids and numbers.

Opening a bank account may require physical presence in the USA. This can allow you to perform business transactions and conduct business with U.S. companies. Understandably, one needs to follow annual company compliance and income tax filing.

  • Do you want your company to have a presence in the U.S. and send workforce from India?

In this case, one needs to consider the U.S. immigration and visa rules. There are five types of visa categories can be covered under such a scenario –

  1. L-1A Visa – The L-1A nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States.
  2. L-1B Visa – The L-1B nonimmigrant classification enables a U.S. employer to transfer a professional employee with specialized knowledge relating to the organization’s interests from one of its affiliated foreign offices to one of its offices in the United States.
  3. EB-1 (c) – Certain managers or executives of multinational companies, who have been employed outside the United States for at least 1 year in the past 3 years preceding the petition can apply under this category. This category is known as ‘Transfer under the Mergers & Acquisitions’.
  4. E-2 Visa – The E-2 nonimmigrant classification allows a national of ‘Treaty Countries’ (Canada, Grenada, Turkey, and such other 60+ countries) to be admitted to the United States when investing a substantial amount of capital in a U.S. business.
  5. EB-5 Visa – The standard minimum investment amount has increased to $1.8 million US (from $1 million US) and, for the Targeted Employment Area (TEA), it has increased to $900,000 US (from $500,000 US) to account for inflation. The business also needs to create 10 jobs for Americans.

Each of these categories is very complex and needs extensive documentation, business plan and, in many cases, an elaborate explanation of the source of funds. Professional help and guidance is highly recommended and desirable when applying under any of these categories to ensure best results.

  1. One last question. Many of our members want their children to study in the USA. How can they plan for their children’s education the USA?

ANS: In general, when Indian students go to the U.S. for studies, they apply for a U.S. Green Card under one of the three following visa classes – EB1, EB2 and EB3.

There is a quota of 40,000 Green Cards per year in each category, with a total of 120,000 Green Cards to be issued.

When this quota was introduced, there were a limited number of foreign students applying for a U.S. Green Card. However, in recent times more and more foreign students are coming to study in the USA from all over the world and are applying for a U.S. Green Card after completing their studies. Thus the number of petitions have increased but the quota has remained the same since the last thirty years.

Due to an unprecedented increase in this number, the waiting time for a Green Card in October 2020 is almost 12 years. If one counts the period of study and H1 work visa period, the total period is almost 20 years to obtain a U.S. Green Card.

Indian students, and parents who wish that their children settle in the USA, need new strategies and proper planning if this dream has to come to fruition.

They must bear in mind the following points:

  1. Plan early and look in to the possibility of Residency by Investment. If that is not possible or feasible, look into the possibility of saving money for your child’s foreign education by investing outside India in financial markets or real estate to avoid currency fluctuation risk and the rising cost of foreign study.
  2. Parents and students must also realize that doing a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD..) in the U.S. is not equivalent to obtaining a Master’s degree.
  3. It is always preferable to study in a recognized university and not a college or private institute.
  4. In 2020, parents and students must not assume that studying abroad will guarantee job placement and future immigration.
July 22, 2019

Since independence in 1947, the Indian economic era can be divided into three main periods:

  1. 1947 to 1993
  2. 1993 to 2007
  3. 2007 to the present day.

The first period is most accurately described as pre-liberalized – a time when pre-liberalisation of the economic policies was taking place in India.

We may regard the second period as the start of economic liberalization– this is the time when inbound investments in India began in earnest.

The third period, in which we currently find ourselves, is the period of optimum economic liberalization – a time when inbound and outbound investments to and from India are in full swing.

The wave of economic liberalization seen in the past few years has catalyzed growth in the number of HNWIs in India. Wealth generation is at its peak, lifestyles, standards of living, travel, education, weddings, savings, retirement, and many other important aspects of life have changed drastically since 2007.

One metric by which we can measure this is the change in India’s HNWI population during the period:

As the above figures from the Knight Frank Wealth Report indicate, the number of HNWIs in India is growing exponentially. Financial advisors, RCBI-professionals, and others who deal with HNWI clients need to adapt and get with the times.

Before the year 2007, most Indians were aspiring just to own a home. But now, they not only want a house with four walls but are looking for a fully furnished, luxurious home. Some years ago, a two-wheeler Bajaj, Fiat, or Ambassador car was the pride of a family. Now, owning two to three cars and a holiday home or farmhouse outside the city is very common.

This is how I would compare the financial aspirations of an Indian businessperson a decade ago and at present:

Before 2007: 

  • Own a two-wheeler or a car
  • Have a portfolio of investments (in India)
  • Go on holidays (in India)
  • Give their children an education in India and perhaps a Master’s degree in a foreign university
  • Own a second home (in India)
  • Get married (in India)
  • Engage in inbound business (in India)

After 2007:

  • Own a luxurious home
  • Own two cars
  • Have a portfolio of investments abroad
  • Go on international holidays
  • Give their children an education abroad, starting from the graduation of high school in India
  • Own a second home abroad
  • Get married, abroad
  • Engage in outbound business, globally

Today, many HNWIs and upper-middle-class Indians own a second home outside India, their children are studying in foreign universities, and they spend at least one vacation abroad each year, all thanks to the booming economy and the concomitant increased spending power.

Foreign destination weddings are catching on and now the new generation of power couples want to have grand, elaborate weddings in exotic locales. In their golden years, senior citizens dream of retiring outside India or living in foreign countries with their children so as to enjoy a better quality of life.

According to data received from the Reserve Bank of India, over the last six years shows the volume of remittances sent abroad by individual Indians has increased ten-fold.

This is not some haphazard newspaper survey; again, these foreign investment figures come directly from the country’s central bank, which closely monitors capital flows to and from India. It provides unique insight into how Indian HNWIs are spending their money. The overall figure for outbound investment has increased from US$440 million US in 2007-08 to US$13.5 billion in 2017-18. In the last six years alone, we’ve witnessed a ten-fold rise in the spending power of Indian HNWIs.

Note also that a large part of the items “Gifts” and “Maintenance of close relatives” is made up of remittances by parents to their children who are studying abroad, while their tuition payments are covered in “Studies Abroad”.

Looking at the data, it’s apparent that RCBI is quickly becoming part of affluent Indians’ considerations in their foreign investment strategy.  The chance to market investment migration services to more than a billion people is a twice-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The first of those opportunities has already passed us by. Don’t miss out on the second chance, for there will never, ever, be a third.

February 10, 2019

 


How to select your EB-5  project and make a safe investment in the EB-5 project?

Regional Centers, Broker dealer, Agent, and mortgage broker who is showing you EB-5 project, you should ask the following questions.

  • What year was the Regional Center first approved by USCIS?
  • How many EB5 projects has the Regional Center completed?
  • How many I-526 and I-829 approvals obtained by the investors in the Regional Center.
  • May I have a copy of the PPM _ Private Placement Memorandum) so I can review the credit agreements for the senior bank loan and the other loans?
  • Is it true that the EB-5 loan is the last loan to be repaid because the Senior Bank Loan will be paid first?
  • Does the EB-5 loan have a security interest in real estate or in the assets of the developer or Regional Center?
  • May I have a copy of the EB-5 insurance policy?  Does the policy cover the 3 primary reasons for application denial: fraudulent statements, criminal background and source of funds issues?
  • If the project doesn’t sell as quickly as expected, could the EB-5 loan be extended beyond 5 years?
  • If the project sells for 15% less than expected, could I lose all or a portion of my investment?
  •  Where is the money coming from to pay the interest on the bank loan?
  • Does the Fund provide the letter from the senior bank loan and the private loan as well as the Targeted Economic Area?

Find out these answers and consult our law firm to compare answers with Regional centers we work with and answer provided by them to these questions.

Email: prashant@ajmeralaw.com

October 10, 2018

Recently, I had an opportunity to conduct a seminar at one of the largest export promotion organisations in Mumbai, India.

After the seminar I received a lot of feedback from the audience regarding the difficulties Indian exporters are facing in exporting their goods. The common obstacles cited were government policy, international trade policy, lack of financial support from the government and insufficient knowledge about import-export regulations of other countries.

I also received feedback that it was easy to establish and do business in African countries, in the Middle East and with our neighboring countries but as far as Western countries were concerned, Indian exporters are having a hard time making their mark.

While interacting with the participants, I was surprised that none of them had given a thought to the Residency and Citizenship by Investment option as a means to expand their export business from India.

I believe this is directly related to the visa regulations of many Western countries. Exporters from China, Taiwan, Korea and even Pakistan (Group countries) have used these regulations to their advantage, while Indian exporters have been quite reticent or unforthcoming in doing so.

Exporters from these Group countries have recognized that in developed or Western countries, there are three types of buyers / importers:

  • Large buyers who come to their countries and establish purchase offices in the country. For example – Walmart.
  • Large importers who import goods and depend on foreign exporters such as them to sell them these goods.
  • Small buyers / importers who do not physically visit their countries but wish to sell the goods of these exporters from offices or shops in their home country.

To sell goods to these buyers / importers, export companies in the Group countries have realized that having a presence in the importer’s country is the most efficient and effective way to sell their goods, especially to the class (ii) and (iii) category buyers.

To have this presence,  exporters from the Group countries take advantage of the Residency and Citizenship by Investment programs of all major countries in the world. Through these programs they obtain permanent residency/citizenship of the respective country. This then allows them to conduct business in their adopted country as local businessmen.

Let’s take an example of a Green Card holding Chinese exporter versus an Indian exporter who has no residency status in USA.

A Chinese exporter will have the following advantages over his Indian counterpart while selling goods to an American importer:

  1. As the Chinese exporter has a USA Green Card, he can start his own company in USA, purchase a warehouse and office and ship goods to the American importer immediately so that they are received within 1 or 2 days. For an Indian exporter in India, it will take several days to process the order and ship out the goods. He will have to deal with a huge amount of paperwork before his goods reach USA.
  2. There is no time difference and hence communication is faster and efficient for the Chinese exporter. Whereas an Indian exporter has to be really prompt and time conscious.
  3. Payment is easy – for the importer to make and exporter to receive.
  4. Confidence level of the buyer/importer is better while doing business with a US-based Chinese supplier/exporter than India-based exporter who has never seen or interacted with.

Unless and until Indian exporters learn to explore different options such as Residency and Citizenship by Investment to their advantage, they will always fighting a losing battle against exporters from other countries.

The best analogy that can be used to emphasize this reality is that if you wish to fight, you need to get into the boxing ring. You cannot stand outside the boxing ring and try to beat your competition.