Demand for luxury Sri Lanka real estate is expected to increase with plans to award a Sri Lanka visa under a new investment immigration program.
High net worth individuals are already showing keen interest in the Sri Lankan luxury real estate market, and the proposed investment immigration visa is expected to capitalise on this.
The Asian country wants to ease pressure on its rupee currency by attracting foreign investment in return for a Sri Lanka visa.
The government says it will award temporary residence visas to those investing a minimum of $300,000.
Finance minister Ravi Karunanayake believes foreigners can be drawn into putting their surplus cash into the country in return for a Sri Lanka visa.
The funds can come into the country using a commercial banking license, the minister said.
Sri Lanka is a becoming a popular holiday destination, particularly with older people, and the government wants to capitalize by offering two or three year residence permits in exchange for the investment.
Karunanayake says an investment of $1.5 million would see the duration of the visa extended.
Investment immigration streams would include banking, the stock market or treasury bonds.
The minister said exchange controls would be eliminated under the program, with investments earning a return of up to three per cent, compared to 0.5 per cent elsewhere in the world.
Boosting foreign reserves and cutting foreign debt is the motivation behind the introduction of the program.
The program was initially proposed as part of the country’s 2016 budget.
Some Sri Lankan officials have come out against the program, which is yet to be presented to cabinet ministers.
The objectors want to know how it will affect Sri Lankan businesses.
Sri Lanka has an established system of awarding residency and visa, comparable with more economically developed nations.
As in both Canada and the U.S., visitors to Sri Lanka require an equivalent of the Electronic Travel Authorization.
There are also strict laws on foreign investment and the channels through which cash can enter the country.
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