Foreign investors cold to Permanent Residency Status scheme

Two years after it was launched by the Union government, the Permanent Residency Status (PRS) scheme providing a host of facilities for foreigners who invest at least ₹10 crore under the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) route is yet to find a single applicant.

A senior Home Ministry official said no foreigner had applied, but cautioned that the lack of applicants should not be seen as “no foreign investment”. Except Pakistani citizens or third-country nationals of Pakistani origin, the scheme is open for citizens of every country.

Inflows dip

From April to December 2017, the FDI inflow stood at ₹2,31,457 crore, a decrease from ₹2,40,385 crore for the corresponding period in 2016.

Most European Union countries, the U.S., Canada and others offer permanent residency to foreign investors.

The U.S. offers the EB-5 visa programme where foreigners could apply for permanent residency if they created employment opportunities for 10 people with a minimum investment of ₹6.5 crore.

An official said this was not a “citizenship” that was being offered to foreigners and was subject to review every 10 years.

The Union Cabinet had cleared the PRS in 2016 to boost its “Make in India” policy. The scheme is open for foreign investors who invest a minimum of ₹10 crore within 18 months or ₹25 crore in 36 months.

“The foreign investment should result in generating employment to at least 20 resident Indians in every financial year … PRS will be granted for a period of 10 years with multiple entry and can be renewed for another 10 years. There will be no requirement of registration with the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO),” the Home Ministry document on the scheme said.

The PRS card holders are also eligible to buy residential property in India.

Among foreign countries, the maximum investment proposals in critical sectors such as telecom and defence that was cleared by Home Ministry in 2017, were from China, the U.K., the U.S. and Mauritius.

Security clearance

Last year, the Ministry gave security clearance to more than 1,071 proposals in 11 critical sectors like defence, telecommunications, information and broadcasting.

Over 90% of the FDI proposals have come through the automatic route, an official said. Among the foreign countries, the U.S., China (including Hong Kong), Mauritius and the U.K. have received the green signal for the most number of projects at 10 each, followed by Germany at six, Bangladesh at three and Italy, Israel, Netherlands and Switzerland at two each.

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Printable version | Sep 28, 2021 1:09:51 AM |

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