Sec­ond cit­i­zen­ship is Plan B for most wealthy In­di­ans, says ad­viser

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES NATION -

From P 1

Of­ten, it is about hav­ing a plan B. About 80-90% of our clients don’t leave home, but have a sec­ond cit­i­zen­ship or res­i­dence in readi­ness. You only have to spend seven days a year if you get the golden visa to Por­tu­gal,” Volek ex­plained. As In­dia does not al­low dual cit­i­zen­ship, many In­di­ans opt for res­i­dence-by-in­vest­ment schemes.

“Peo­ple want ac­cess to the EU sin­gle mar­ket. They want to send their kids to school in an­other coun­try, or have some­where safe to park their money. They em­ploy all kinds of meth­ods to pro­tect their wealth,” said Knights­bridge Cap­i­tal Part­ners direc­tor Luke Hex­ter.

Ac­cord­ing to Global Wealth Mi­gra­tion Re­view, 7,000 high­net-worth In­di­ans left the coun­try in 2017. While Amer­ica, Canada and Aus­tralia are the most pre­ferred des­ti­na­tions, there are 30-40 other coun­tries that open more doors than an In­dian pass­port. “An In­dian pass­port does not rank highly in terms of mo­bil­ity,” said Volek.

“Por­tu­gal, Greece and Malta are very pop­u­lar as you get the Schen­gen visa with­out need­ing a sec­ond pass­port.” Choksi’s move has cre­ated aware­ness about th­ese op­tions. Lawyers and tax ad­vis­ers in In­dia rec­om­mend rich clients to global com­pa­nies that ad­vise on where and how to set­tle.

Reaz Jafri, CEO of Withers Global Ad­vi­sors, has seen more en­quiries from In­di­ans in the past year than in the pre­vi­ous five years com­bined. In­dian clients “are try­ing to deal with the same per­sonal, fi­nan­cial, po­lit­i­cal and com­mer­cial risks” as other wealthy clients, he said. “In the old days, you would hide your as­sets, but there is no place to do that now. It’s about mov­ing to a ju­ris­dic­tion that of­fers ben­e­fits and flex­i­bil­ity, where there is stable law and or­der, and a good fi­nan­cial sys­tem.”

A sec­ond pass­port or res­i­dence is also a hedge against the risk of po­lit­i­cally-mo­ti­vated tax pros­e­cu­tion, said Jafri. “Some­times po­ten­tial vi­o­la­tions of tax laws are used as a tool to go af­ter cer­tain peo­ple, and it is very po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated, and less than trans­par­ent, so they feel vul­ner­a­ble,” he said. Jafri added that “Th­ese tend to be for­ward-think­ing in­di­vid­u­als who are hedg­ing against un­fore­seen risks and are mind­ful of their friends be­ing in­ves­ti­gated.”

All firms TOI spoke to claimed they rec­om­mend clients only af­ter strin­gent back­ground checks. “It would be vir­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble to help them, from a risk and com­pli­ance point of view, if in­ves­ti­ga­tions are pend­ing against them,” Jafri said.

Can clients lose their new cit­i­zen­ship if they get em­broiled in a case later on? “Chances of the new cit­i­zen­ship be­ing re­voked are very slim. It would have to be proved they mis­rep­re­sented facts at the time of ap­pli­ca­tion,” said Jafri.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.