'Foreigners can't settle in Goa'
Sanjay Jha | May 29, 2008 at 03:05 amby
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Goa - famous for its sand, sun and beaches - always attracts foreigners. Many of them have even bought their properties to live there permanently. But now local government is bringing in a new law to prohibit sale to foreigners.
After spending eight years in Goa, a British couple in their 60s — Mash Barry Sidney and Jenice Mash — decided to make the idyllic coastal state their permanent home after retirement.
But it wasn't to be, as they were told that the Indian law forbids retired foreigners from staying permanently in the country.
"When we applied for extension of stay in India, officials at the foreigners' registration office (FRO), Panaji, told us we won't get visa extension as we had sought it for spending our retired life in Goa," Sidney said, adding, "We were told that it was in line with the instructions of the external affairs ministry."
Sidney said the FRO got back to him saying, "As per the external affairs ministry's instructions, foreigners have to spend their retired life in their country and therefore your request isn't agreed to." He said the FRO also requested them to immediately leave the country. This isn't an isolated case. FRO sources told TOI that every year nearly 3,000 foreigners — including about 800 to 900 from UK alone — staying in Goa, seek extension on their visas.
In most cases, foreign nationals seek extension saying they want to spend their retired life in Goa.
"Goa home department rejects the requests citing MEA rules. Our job is to convey this to the applicant," a senior FRO official said. Special secretary (home) Diwan Chand said, "We are acting as per the MEA's visa manual."
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