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India government warns on illegal real estate sales to foreign buyers

[JURIST] The government of India issued a warning [statement text] Thursday on illegal land sales to foreigners in the country, especially in the state of Goa [official website]. Located in the western part of India, Goa is known for its seaside views and inexpensive housing, which attract many foreigners. The statement by the Ministry of Finance [official website] said:

It has come to the notice of the Central Government that foreign nationals are buying immovable property illegally in some parts of the country, particularly in Goa, which has raised concerns . . . [A]ll, including the authorities concerned in the State Governments, are hereby advised to be extra vigilant in such matters and satisfy themselves about the eligibility under [the Foreign Exchange Management Act] before registering a sale or purchase of immovable property in India. The enquiries [sic] may include both the intending buyers and sellers. The relevant travel documents and the nature of visa may also be verified before registering such sale / purchase.
Reuters has more. The Calcutta Telegraph has local coverage.

Under India's Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) [text], a foreign national is permitted to purchase land only after he or she has resided in India more than 182 days. Additionally, the buyer must file income tax in India and any investments must remain in the country. The Goa government in March amended India's Registration Act of 1908 [text], banning the sale [Indian Realty News report] of all land to foreigners unless the Reserve Bank of India granted clearance.

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