Indian Surge for Foreign Investments in Australia
Despite the global economic downturn, the Australian economy has been able to pretty much sustain itself. Backed by impressive figures, in an otherwise gloomy global environment, Australia has been attempting to push the limits of its growth further. It is in this direction that, the country last year, unveiled the “significant investor” visa program to attract high net worth individuals (HNWI) who are capable of making substantial investments in the country, in return for relaxation in permanent residency visa norms.
Indians hold the potential
India, home to more than 7,000 millionaires with combined fortunes of about US$ 1 trillion, is a key source for Australia to attract migrants under its “significant investor” visa category. Combine these fortunes with the $US 465 billion held by Indian nationals living aboard, and it is roughly equivalent to the size of Australia's entire economy, says a report in the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH).
According to analysts quoted in the SMH report, Indians have the potential to invest as much as $US30 billion into Australia, over the next five years. Trends in this direction are already visible. Considering, Australia’s rich resource-base, much of these investments from India have been targeted towards mining and allied activities in the country, with some investment being made in real estate, innovation and technology.
The Jindal family, who have a major stake in resource-based industries in India and is ranked among the world’s richest by Forbes, invested $26 million, last year, to acquire two minor stakes in Australia’s iron ore and coal mines through their firm Jindal Steel & Power. Similarly, another resource-based firm belonging to Indian-billionaire Gautam Adani invested US$2 billion to acquire a coal mine in the state of Queensland. Even Indian government owned National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) has been looking to invest in mining projects in Australia and has created an Australian subsidiary, Legacy Iron Ore Ltd.
Indian investors are also seeking to tap into the vast tourism potential that Australia offers. Silverneedle Hospitality, backed by N. S. Raghavan who is the co-founder of software giant Infosys Technologies, picked up a Brisbane hotel for $57 million and went on the buy a chain of about 60 hotels in Australia and New Zealand.
Apart from FDI investments, Australia is also been seeking to attract rich Asians as migrants. With this objective, the country launched the "significant investor" visa program last year requiring potential migrants to make sizable investments, in return of concessions in visa norms. The effort is to competing with New Zealand, Canada and Singapore in attracting a growing number of Asia's rich.
Such immigration schemes tend not only to bring much-coveted long-term investment, but also contribute to economic growth and job creation, says the SMH report.
With Indians becoming the largest source of migrants in Australia, the “significant investor” visa programme is seen as a viable option for rich Indian nationals keen to migrate Down Under.
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