Europe is India’s strongest trading partner, accounting for about 13 per cent of India′s global trade
Being a dual citizen or having residence rights outside your country of origin or birth is not a luxury anymore, but a necessity. We have always heard about experts advising “not to have all our eggs in one basket”–the same applies to residence rights and investments. An alternate or second residency comes with a plethora of benefits. For investors, the reasons might differ. For some, it could be economic prospects or better education for children while for others, it could be an opportunity to live in a more stable environment or for improved health and lifestyle. For many Indians, global business links and their children’s education are major forces driving their decision to invest in the European Union, the UK, or the US.
Most second residency investments in the West today require an investment between €300,000 between €500,000 which is similar to what one would spend for buying a two or three-bed apartment in major Indian metropolitan cities. While the latter provides rental yield, capital appreciation, and future security, the former provides the same rental yields, similar capital appreciation, enhanced future security, and residence rights as icing on the cake.
Thus, many Indian investors are now investing in residential real estate for Golden Visa in Cyprus, Greece, Portugal, and Spain instead of buying a second or third property in the city they live. This is an attractive option for investors allowing visa-free mobility throughout the EU’s Schengen zone through a residency card and other rights associated with being an EU resident. The proposition is also gaining more importance with non-resident Indian investors based in the Middle East, especially in the UAE.
Besides mobility and investment, there are a number of advantages like access to quality higher education at much lower costs, better health facilities, better infrastructure, and more health insurance schemes. It also provides investors with a currency hedge, stable returns, protection against instability, and enhanced lifestyle for future generations. The key advantage being, residence programs provide a path to citizenship, and once achieved, the EU citizen can live and work anywhere among the 27 EU nations. The list goes on.
Let us look at some of these in detail-
Ease of Travel
Imagine you want to take the next flight out to Switzerland or Cyprus, but you don’t have a Visa. One of the key benefits of being an EU resident is the ease of travel across the Schengen Zone. International travels have become progressively tough because of stringent visa requirements that are issued for short periods of time. In addition, the pandemic has shown how borders can close and air travel restricted for months. Investing in the second residency eases the process for Indian citizens. Be it for business or leisure, a second residency or a European passport can significantly ease travel for Indian investors.
Many of the world’s best universities are located in Europe and investor’s children can get access to high-quality European education which will not cost an arm and a leg. Many of our investors are planning to send their children to countries like Ireland, France, Germany, or Switzerland for their higher education. Most universities provide free education to EU citizens. Besides, a wide range of subject options are available and one can find programs in almost any academic discipline from arts to zoology, science, and technology; small, intimate universities or great international research centers; advanced academic research programs or practice-oriented skilled education. Financially, you could save upto €100,000 for each child’s undergraduate degree which you would have otherwise spent as an international student. Planning ahead can give your child a huge advantage and save you upto €30,000 a year. Finally, your children will have the right to live and work anywhere in the European Union by the time they graduate.
A Sound Investment
EU is one of the most regulated markets in the world. EU investment policies aim to secure a clear stage to ensure that overseas investors are not discriminated against or wronged, provide a predictable and transparent business environment, encourage corporate social responsibility and responsible business practices, and preserve the right of the home and host countries to regulate their economies in the public interest. The EUR (€) is a global currency and provides a natural hedge against the depreciation of most emerging market currencies. Thus, Europe makes a sound investment along with acquiring residence rights in the EU country which eventually provides a path to citizenship of the Bloc.
Real estate investments in Europe allow freedom of movement across the EU’s Schengen zone. However, this also opens doors to cross-border trade and permits businesses to trade within the Single Market. Europe is India’s largest trading partner accounting for ~13 per cent of India′s global trade. The EU is the world's largest trading block and the largest trader of manufactured goods and services. It is also one of the top trading partners for over 80 countries. On the other hand, the US is the top trading partner for just over 20 countries.
European Lifestyle, Health, and Safety
Investing in a European residency gives the investor and the family, access to a high-quality lifestyle, health, and social infrastructure. Public health in the Mediterranean, southern and western Europe are among the best in the world.
These residency permits also lead to citizenship when certain conditions are met, opening up the right to live and work anywhere in Europe. With careful planning, an EU Residency is probably the best investment one can make.
27 is More Than 1
When traveling outside the EU, citizens of EU countries can seek assistance from the embassy or consulate of any EU country. This means more access and government support in the most critical times.
Sources suggest that the number of Indians seeking to shift their base, or at least have an alternate base via the investment route has doubled since the pandemic broke, overtaking the global average growth of 50 per cent. It also states that India saw the third-highest outflow of wealthy individuals last year. Approximately 5,000 millionaires, left the country in 2020 because of numerous reasons and in search of better opportunities. We ourselves have seen a 200 per cent jump in the number of enquiries from major Indian metros.
The author is Founder, CEO, Aretha Capital Partners
DISCLAIMER: Views expressed are the author's own, and Outlook Money does not necessarily subscribe to them. Outlook Money shall not be responsible for any damage caused to any person/organisation directly or indirectly.