An Indian Citizen who stays abroad for employment/ carrying on business or vacation outside India or stays abroad under circumstances indicating an intention for an uncertain duration of stay abroad is a non-resident. (Persons posted in U.N. organizations and officials deputed abroad by Central/ State Government and Public Sector Undertakings on temporary assignments are also treated as non-resident) Non-resident foreign citizens of Indian Origin are treated on par with non-resident Indian citizens.
Among the various investment options available for non-resident Indians (NRIs), Real estate plays a dominant role due to its rate of appreciation and the periodical returns on the investment. Whether it is a residential or commercial property investment, NRis can invest through their representatives in India by giving a power of attorney to act on their behalf.
A copy of the power of attorney should be notarised with the Indian consulate in the respective country which will provide authenticity on their behalf for an investment in property in India. The property can be registered in the name of the NRI, and the power of attorney holder can sign on their behalf by producing a copy of the power of attorney to the appropriate authorities .
If a NRI decides to acquire a house through a power of attorney , he can still proceed abroad. This is because, for the purposes of income tax and wealth tax, the power of attorney holder accompanied by the actual possession of the property through the agreement to sell is deemed to be the owner of the property for the purposes of Section 27 of the Income Tax Act.
A general power of attorney in favour of the NRI’s relatives will enable them to sell the property and arrange to repatriate the sale proceeds through an authorised foreign exchange dealer after payment of the taxes due. They can also rent out the property and credit the proceeds to a NRO account.
Similarly, NRIs can seek home loans through their power of attorney holder and documents can be signed on their behalf while investing in property. They can issue the EMI cheques on behalf of their relatives here as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has relaxed the norms of operation of joint accounts considerably recently.
A significant development is the proliferation of housing finance companies and banks in countries abroad. In the Gulf, Dubai boasts of many housing finance companies and banks having arrangements with exchange houses. Home loans can be processed through overseas representative offices for NRIs. As a result, the power of attorney enables their relatives to interact directly with developers in India. A number of nationalised banks have remittance arrangements with the exchange houses.
The RBI also said that any citizen who was earlier residing in a foreign country can own or transfer property or other assets in that nation if it was acquired during the time of his residence there. A person resident in India is free to hold, own, transfer or invest in foreign currency, foreign security or any property situated outside India if such currency, security or property was acquired, held or owned when he was resident outside India or inherited from a person who was resident outside India.
Similarly, returning NRIs can retain and reinvest the income earned on investments made under the Liberalised Remittance Scheme. There was lack of clarity earlier as to whether the income earned on assets held abroad by NRIs who have returned to India for permanent settlement and assets held outside India through Liberalised Remittance Scheme are required to be realised and repatriated to India. Now, the RBI has clarified that income and sale proceeds of assets held abroad need not be repatriated to India and can be retained and invested outside India.
As India’s economy booms and continues to maintain a steady 8 percent GDP growth, NRIs are looking towards returning to India for investments. But, the NRIs contemplating return to India seek to maintain their ongoing lifestyle; thereby, motivating the property developers in India to come up with innovative residential and commercial projects of international standards.
The developers are keenly focusing to meet this specific aspiration of the NRIs, who want to experience the living standards of Dubai, UAE, yet feel the warmth and hospitality of their motherland. This includes luxury homes and apartments, penthouses, villas and condominiums.
Recent trends have highlighted that NRI investment for residential properties in India either serve as second homes, vacation homes, investment property or as retirement homes. NRIs have also been investing their money in the lucrative commercial real estate market in India as the capital values and rental values for corporate office spaces and retail mall spaces are appreciating high returns.
Benefits for NRI who migrate back to India according to RBI guidelines
- May continue to hold, own, transfer or invest in foreign currency, foreign security or any immovable property situated outside India, if such currency, security or property was acquired, held or owned when resident outside India.
- May open, hold and maintain with an authorized dealer in India a Resident Foreign Currency (RFC) Account to transfer balances held in NRE/FCNR (B) accounts. Proceeds of assets held outside India at the time of return, can be credited to RFC account. The funds in RFC accounts are free from all restrictions regarding utilization of foreign currency balances including any restriction on investment in any form outside India.
Exemptions for NRI :After returning India for permanent residence NRI Ancash following exemption from wealth tax for seven years after return to India.
- the money and the value of assets brought by him
- Value of the assets acquired by him out of such money within one year immediately preceding the date of his return
- Basic exemption of Rs. 15 lakhs is also applicable.
Reasons of returning NRI back to India :
Comparisons on lifestyle, food, schools, and hygiene and work culture follow, and a family consent on “returning to India” is reached. NRI techies find that they can make valuable contributions to the booming IT industry in India and with a good number of “World” Schools, Lavish Accommodation, Global Entertainment and the Sprouting Shopping Malls, India is the place to be.
With multinational companies picking from the cream of attractive resource pool of India and the country offering multiple job avenues to explore, many NRIs have begun to return to India.
Riding the wave of the IT revival in India, giant conglomerates like Wipro, Infosys, and Satyam is earnestly planning to dominate tech hiring wave here thereby trying to give their domestic counterparts a backseat. And, in doing so, they have been succeeded to tempt NRI professionals, who generally fill up for top and middle level positions.
A lot of high value recruitment is likely to take place in coming few years. For NRIs, this clearly underlines the fact regarding advantages of returning back to India outweighing the disadvantages by far.
Companies hiring NRIs: Some of the IT & ITES companies which are actively hiring NRIs returning to India.
Why Investment In India is Profitable?
Supporting the trend is the development of Indian economy that is growing nicely at 6 to 7 percent annually. A wise investment in India can easily become your wealth creating tool and get investors a handsome profit margin. For that reason, cross border investors are taking great interest in putting in a modest amount of capital in India with the advantage of repatriation of the funds invested.
The Indian real estate market giving more return on the investments than the same offered by other developed countries. Simpler process of making investment has upturned the equation; therefore, quite a few NRIs are consistently putting in money in the Real Estate Sector.
A number of NRIs who plan to shift back to India are progressively more investing in Real Estate. Not only in India, who create a phenomenal progress in the growth of its IT and ITES sectors but as a result also attracting back the best engineers and professionals from across the world. As a result, the real estate market is thriving in cities that offer excellent job opportunities. There is a lot of speculation about the growing unaffordable prices of the Indian real estate market. But investors should remember that real estate developers are making sincere efforts to make highly affordable real estate options that are equipped with modern amenities and comfortable living that match international standards.