Radio 4 Programme - Goa Property


#1 Jul 18th, 2008, 17:23
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Radio 4 is broadcasting a feature on alleged violations of Goan property laws today at 12.30 p.m. Might be interesting listening.
#2 Jul 18th, 2008, 19:04
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I listened to it on the way back from a site meeting, and as someone who previously knew nothing of the issue, I found it interesting.

For anyone who missed it or who is outside the UK, here's a link to listen to "You and Yours" online, although today's episode has not yet been uploaded to the site.
#3 Jul 18th, 2008, 20:41
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You can find it as of now under You and Yours on this page*. You need to Fast Forward 30 minutes in the program.

Just going to listen now...




*I think the Beeb only offers the Listen Again service for seven days after broadcast, so, future readers, please check the date of these posts before searching the BBC in vane.
~
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.
#4 Jul 18th, 2008, 21:26
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Thanks Haylo and Nick for adding the links; I can never get it to work!
#5 Jul 18th, 2008, 21:49
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The politician guys says "Indeterminate" amount of time means 'indefinite' --- and therefore that is not possible, as there is no such thing as an indefinite visa. He did not suggest why, then, the clause existed in FEMA in the first place, nor did he mention what might have been meant by intention, not did he mention that long term visas could, potentially be renewed.

The Estate agent chappie said that forming a company was the way to go and, hey, while people wanted to buy, he was going to be selling.

The advocate chappie said that yes, forming a company was the way to go.
#6 Jul 18th, 2008, 22:38
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Oh what a tangled web we weave! More conflicting statements and so the never ending saga of buying property in Goa continues.

Steve Wood and co are in it for the money and have no intention of warning potential buyers of the current situation. When it all goes belly up he may regret his smug attitude.
#7 Jul 18th, 2008, 22:50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post nor did he mention what might have been meant by intention, not did he mention that long term visas could, potentially be renewed.
As I recall (I was driving at the time) they skirted round the question of visas, which surprised me as I thought it would be one of the main sticking points. They only said that "Goa", which once freely issued long term visas, feels differently about foreigners and new developments so it's not now issuing them / issuing them less readily.

The Indian government weren't helpful, saying they should have taken legal advice then when told they did, saying it is the fault of their legal advisers.

Clearly, the word "indeterminate" is being interpreted in a strange way, the "Oh, we meant indefinite" thing sounds like a fudge to me. Indeterminate could just as easily mean someone (with a five year visa) having not yet chosen whether to stay for four years, or to leave after three months!

If the law was meant to mean "indefinite", it would have been drafted using that term.
#8 Jul 18th, 2008, 23:07
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It is is a fudge, a politician's fudge --- but the law, such as it is, is in the hands of the politicians.
#9 Jul 18th, 2008, 23:10
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Originally Posted by Nick-H View Post It is is a fudge, a politician's fudge --- but the law, such as it is, is in the hands of the politicians.
Yes, that is certainly the impression I got.

I will keep my eye on the Radio 4 "Listen Again" service, as they do upload transcripts of programmes to their archives a while after the programmes, but it does sometimes take a few weeks.
#10 Jul 19th, 2008, 00:09
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Originally Posted by Haylo View Post As I recall (I was driving at the time) they skirted round the question of visas, which surprised me as I thought it would be one of the main sticking points. They only said that "Goa", which once freely issued long term visas, feels differently about foreigners and new developments so it's not now issuing them / issuing them less readily.
A glaring example of the stupidity and inaccuracy of much journalism, I'm afraid. "Goa" never issued visas. Visas are issued by the central government. From what we've been able to piece together on IM (which I think has picked apart this issue more thoroughly than most other sources), the Indian High Commission in London was, for a time, issuing "X" (entry, i.e., "immigration") visas to UK citizens on the strength of the UK person's having bought (or should I say "bought" in quotation marks?) property in Goa. Typically the purchase was made while the individual was on a tourist visa, and then, after the fact the acquisition of the property was used, ex post facto, as a rationale for the person's claim to be entitled to an immigration visa, and the bozos in the London ICH office went for it. This is a bootstrap argument, though, because you can't legally purchase immovable property on a tourist visa (and you aren't supposed to do it on the basis of having formed a sham company, either), so it makes no sense to all to grant an entry visa on the basis of an illegal property acquisition (my analysis of this issue is all covered in excruciating detail in the Goa property threads). To make a long story somewhat shorter, the jobsworthies in the London office finally woke up (or somebody up the chain of command woke them up) and told them the issuance of these X visas simply on the basis of having "bought" property was not correct in the first place. This was not the result of a change of law triggered by a hardening of attitudes towards tourists or foreigners in general; it was the correct application of existing law.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Haylo View Post Clearly, the word "indeterminate" is being interpreted in a strange way, the "Oh, we meant indefinite" thing sounds like a fudge to me.
The problem is not with the use of the term "indeterminit" versus "indefinite", as the meanings of these two words are not so clearly distinguishable as to be useful in this context. The problem is that the law was written in a way that was too compressed and cryptic, regardless of which term was used, to be readily understandable. Simply substituting one term for the other would not have provided, and does not provide, the needed clarity. I think it is pretty clear, however, that the GOI did not intend that a person on a tourist visa (which is issued for a finite maximum period, regardless of the "intention" of the visa holder or his uncertainty about how long he'll stay within that period) would have the right to purchase immovable property. If there's such a thing as "legislative history" in India, it would be interesting to investigate the background of the drafting of the pertinent laws.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Haylo View Post Indeterminate could just as easily mean someone (with a five year visa) having not yet chosen whether to stay for four years, or to leave after three months!
First, unless a UK citizen is a Person of Indian Origin, or is employed in the travel industry, he can't get a five-year visa (and these travel industry visas have a max 180 day stay reqt). So unless he qualifies for an employment visa, which has an indefinite term that's coextensive with the term of employment, he's only going to be able to get a visa that has a maximum 180-day stay limit. Such a visa can never be used to satisfy the requirements of immovable property acquisition, not only because the "intention to stay" requirement can't be satisfied, but also the 182-day presence requirement can't be satisfied. Even a U.S. citizen who can get a long-term tourist visa (ten years) still has to leave the country every 180 days, and cannot legally satisfy both of these requirements. The bottom line is that doing some Talmudic analysis of "indefinite" versus "indeterminate" is pointless when it's otherwise pretty clear that it was never the intention of the GOI's national economic policy to allow the purchase of immovable property by persons who can qualify only for tourist visas - even if some of them were erroneously issued entry visas at some point. I've been offering this analysis for over a year now, and meeting with some resistance and argumentation from some quarters about what the law does or doesn't "say", but I think the way the GOI is treating the issue now has borne me out, as I think they are now pretty explicitly saying that if you only have a tourist visa, you can't buy immovable property, period, regardless of what your "intention" is about staying in the country. Persons who bought property after having been erroneously issued entry visas might have some sort of waiver argument to use in defense of their purchase, but people who bought on a tourist visa in the first place and then got an entry visa after the fact on the basis of having done so? Hah! If I were an Indian Govt official I could nail their hide to the wall (along with the hides of the property developers who got them into the purchase in the first place)!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Haylo View Post If the law was meant to mean "indefinite", it would have been drafted using that term.
Speaking as a lawyer, pardon me while I fall off my chair laughing.
#11 Jul 19th, 2008, 00:26
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Originally Posted by dzibead View Post it was never the intention of the GOI's national economic policy to allow the purchase of immovable property by persons who can qualify only for tourist visas - even if some of them were erroneously issued entry visas at some point. I've been offering this analysis for over a year now, and meeting with some resistance and argumentation from some quarters about what the law does or doesn't "say", but I think the way the GOI is treating the issue now has borne me out, as I think they are now pretty explicitly saying that if you only have a tourist visa, you can't buy immovable property, period, regardless of what your "intention" is about staying in the country.
You are totally right on this. When the Indian government drafts laws relating to foreigners, it is usually done keeping in mind people from other south Asian countries, particularly Pakistan and Bangladesh. See for instance the wording for the PIO/OCI cards, it is crafted carefully to avoid giving property/legal rights in India to people from other south Asian countries. This is because any such loophole has the potential to create major ethnic and religious tensions, which arise even without such loopholes (as in the case of Bangladeshi migration to Assam).

Probably the best way for a foreigner to understand the Goan property issue would be to think of oneself as a person from Pakistan, trying to buy property in India! Or an Indian trying to buy property in Kashmir!
#12 Jul 19th, 2008, 00:40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haylo View Post If the law was meant to mean "indefinite", it would have been drafted using that term.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dzibead View Post Speaking as a lawyer, pardon me while I fall off my chair laughing.
You are right, that was a really dumb thing to say, I meant should!
#13 Jul 19th, 2008, 01:29
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#13
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Originally Posted by Haylo View Post
If the law was meant to mean "indefinite", it would have been drafted using that term.
Not really. Most bills/acts all over the world use complex language which is more often than not unclear. When a court of law has to adjudicate on a particular bill/act the court tends to go by what the wishes of the law makers(legislators) were at the time the bill was drafted.

The simple truth is that India has never had a history of allowing foreign nationals to buy property in India and I can't see any court of law in India thinking any different.
#14 Jul 19th, 2008, 09:10
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People I know, including Indians, were initially issued with an "Agreement of Sale". It's not a "Deed of Sale", so how can one have "bought" on a Tourist visa? I also have an Agreement which I took to London 3 years ago. They issued a 1 year X. Additionally I know British here who are on their 2nd or 3rd 5 year visas. They are not confident of getting another.

Additionally, the latest on visa stories: A friend was here about 2 weeks ago for a week. He applied for a 1 year Tourist visa and got it(2x180 days). He was told he could have had a 5 year.

I heard, yesterday, a story hot from London. A British woman living here for about 7 years was told that you could only get more than 6 months if you owned property.

GoanGoan......here & there..Goa
#15 Jul 22nd, 2008, 15:23
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I listened to the radio programme on BBC Radio 4 the other day about foreigners who had been sold property in Goa.

I have no pity for these people at all.

It is quite obvious to anyone with half a brain that the Government does not want foreigners to buy immovable property in India, and these people start looking for loopholes and playing tricks in the hope that they will get away with it.
  • They're on tourist visas, which makes them tourists
  • They're registering businesses that do not carry out any business
  • They're taking legal advice from house builders and Rs.100 lawyers
  • They're too stupid to check the official documentation on the RBI web site
  • They seem to think that they're doing the Indian economy a favour
  • They see it is their "human right" to live in India on a tourist visa
I wish that the the High Commissions and Embassies around the world would start questioning people who apply for a new visa every six months.

Passports are stamped on entry and on departure, so it would be easy enough to spot which tourists are living in India and only leave the country to get a new visa.

To my mind it would be fair to say, "You have already been a tourist in India for X months this year, so we're not granting you another tourist visa just yet. Come back next year and apply again".

The radio programme is called Face The Facts and you can listen to it online (until 24th July) at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/facethefacts/


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