Expat homeowners in Goa face confiscation of retirement homes

Published:  7 Apr at 6 PM
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Expats from Europe living the dream in tropical Goa are now facing the loss of their homes and businesses in a land and homes grab reminiscent of the Spanish property scandal.

Around 450 expat-owned properties have been declared illegal purchases by Goan officials after local politicians blamed foreigners in the state for the rise in property prices. Twelve properties have already been seized, with another 32 expat residents being served with eviction notices.

Homes, small guesthouses, restaurants and hotels owned by British and other European expats are the targets of what is seen as discrimination against foreigners. The recent influx of Israeli and Russian buyers has resulted in increased tension between nationals and incomers, with accusations of prostitution and drug trafficking levelled at recent arrivals.

A British guest house owner told the media that the confiscations were racially motivated and encouraged by local politicians. Refusing to be named as he is frightened of recrimination, he added that his land and business, purchased 12 years ago as a going concern, was now designated as ‘agricultural’, making it an illegal purchase as there were no permission documents relating to its ‘conversion for commercial use’.

His Goan neighbours, he continued, who own a home on the same plot, have not been affected. Others, he said, have purchased older properties with planning permission and licenses, but the law had now been changed in retrospect and they are losing everything.

The Goan government denies expats are being treated unfairly, and Nationalist Congress Party leader Rajan Ghate states he is happy with the government’s decision to confiscate foreign-owned properties. Local people, he says, are facing downturns in their businesses due to foreign colonisation of the state, adding that foreigners should arrive as tourists and then go back to their own countries.
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