The cabinet today approved a proposal to offer residency permits up to 20 years to foreigners willing to invest a minimum amount in the country, emulating a model followed in the US, Singapore and Britain.
According to the plan, foreign investors will be granted 10-year permanent residency if they invest Rs 10 crore over 18 months, or Rs 25 crore over three years. The residency status can be extended by 10 years.
Moreover, the investment should result in the employment of at least 20 resident Indians every financial year. Investors will also be allowed to buy one residential property and their spouses and children can work or study here.
At present, investors get business visas for up to five years. Indian laws also allow foreigners, who have stayed in the country for seven years, to apply for permanent citizenship, though the scheme has been criticised for its stringent terms.
Finance ministry officials said the "residency for investment" scheme was similar to a US visa programme - EB-5 - which asked immigrants to invest between half-a-million dollars and $1 million in businesses that create at least 10 full-time jobs.
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