Can You Buy Your Way Out of a Pandemic? Only if You’re a Crazy Rich Indian

Social Commentary

Can You Buy Your Way Out of a Pandemic? Only if You’re a Crazy Rich Indian

Illustration: Namaah/ Arré

A lot has been written about what a life will look like post the pandemic, with reports warning us that this might not be the last outbreak, or lockdown in the near future. To avoid all the potential hassle, according to a recent report in Bloomberg, India’s wealthier population is now looking for a way out, and hunting for citizenship in safe havens, where they can wait the pandemic out.

There has been a 111 per cent increase in the number of inquiries from Indians to apply for investor-related visas and citizenship programmes in these safe havens since January 2020, data released by advisory firm Henley and Partners has revealed.

The firm guarantees the global elite citizenship or residency in exchange for investment in the host country.

“They’re now realizing: ‘Let’s actually get the contingency plan in place.’ That’s why we’ve seen quite a spike now, not only in inquiries, but also in the families actually signing up and saying, ‘Let’s start the process’,” a company spokesperson was quoted as saying.

What’s more is that these clients aren’t just looking at moving to beautiful tourist destinations where they can hang around on remote beaches, but are also considering how countries have handled the Covid-19 pandemic when making their decisions.

According to another report in The Print, the most popular programmes for Indians have been for Portugal, Malta, Grenada, and Canada, all of which have seen relative success in their battle against the coronavirus.

But, of course, escaping a pandemic and moving to a safe haven halfway across the world comes at a cost. In New Zealand for instance, the report says, different kinds of residence permits can be obtained through investments of NZD 3 million-NZD 10 million (approx Rs 14.91 crore-Rs 49.71 crore) over a 3-4 year period.

For Malta, that figure is revised to 1.2 million euros and a mandatory property purchase.

Still despite these staggering costs, according to the data released by the company, several Indians are willing to foot the bill, provided it offers them a contingency plan. The rest of us should probably just hope that it doesn’t come down to that.