Wealthy Indians Top World In Looking to Leave Country: Report

The number of enquiries for citizenship or residence abroad rose by 62.6 percent from 2019, according to a firm.

2 min read
High net-worth individuals (HNWI) India topped the list of people moving out of the country for residence or citizenship in 2020,

High net-worth individuals (HNWI) of India topped the list of people moving out of their countries for residence or citizenship elsewhere in 2020, according to Henley & Partners, a global citizenship and residence advisory firm.

The firm told the Times of India, that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, wealthy Indians made the most number of enquires for ‘residence-by-investment’ or ‘citizenship-by-investment’ programmes. The number of enquiries rose by 62.6 percent from 2019.

Austria, Malta and Turkey drew the most number of citizenship requests while Canada, Portugal and Austria were the top three choices for residence-by-investment programme.

“We saw a 62.6% increase in the number of enquiries received from Indians in 2020 as compared to 2019. The base for 2019 was over 1,500 enquiries,” Nirbhay Handa, director and head of global South Asia team, Henley & Partners, told TOI.

The 2020 Global Wealth Migration Review, issued in collaboration with the New World Wealth found that in 2019, India had the second biggest ‘wealth outflow’ after China.

7,000 HNWI, comprising of 2 percent of wealthy Indians, had left the country in 2019. Earlier, in 2018, a report had found that in the years 2015-17, as many as 17,000 rich people (those who have more than Rs 6.5 crore in wealth) left India.

7,000 super rich people in 2017, 6,000 in 2016, and 4,000 in 2015 had left India and established domiciles abroad.

Historically, US, UK, Canada and Australia have been ‘favourites’ for citizenship, Times of India reports. However, Handa states that while Canada and Australia are ‘key contenders,’ the HNWI have understood the limitations which come with them, like the long processing time for these programmes and higher investment amounts.

The report further notes that the wealthy NRIs are more inclined to opt for ‘citizenship-by-investment’ programmes, differing from wealthy Indians, who prefer ‘residence-by-investment’ programmes.

Since India does not offer dual citizenship, ‘by-investment’ citizenship requires giving up the Indian passport.

NRIs tend to opt for European citizenship programmes, out of which the Portugal Golden Residence Permit Program - requiring a minimum investment of Euro 3,50,000 in real estate - is the most popular one.


Noting the popularity of Austria and Malta, Handa states that this is due to an added benefit of better mobility. For instance, an Austrian passport allows one to travel visa-free to 187 destinations.

“The citizenship programmes offered by Malta and Austria also provide the option of settlement anywhere in EU,” Handa added.

US was the second in the list of wealthy individuals leaving, followed by Pakistan, South Africa and Nigeria, the firm told the Times of India.

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