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Overseas Health Insurance News: Expats in Goa fear losing their homes

Numerous expatriates living in Goa could lose their retirement homes and businesses due to claims that have arisen suggesting they were bought illegally.

So far 12 properties have been confiscated by the authorities in the Indian state with 32 eviction notices served to owners of others, reports the Telegraph.

There is a growing resentment towards expats in Goa as local politicians blame them for inflating the price of property in the area.

Small retirement apartments, guesthouses and hotels are among the 450 properties owned by foreigners that officials have identified as being bought illegally.

One guesthouse owner said that he had been told that the land he purchased more than ten years ago was originally designated as agricultural land.

Unless he could provide documentation showing that permission had been granted for it to be converted into facilities for tourism then he faced losing it.

He went on to tell the news provider: "People have bought old homes with licenses [and] planning permission but in retrospect they've changed the law so that foreigners can't own.

"I bought a going concern and now they are saying it is agricultural land. I've had a confiscation order, and I've appealed against it. Lots of [British] people have, it's not just me. It's my life, my retirement plan and everything."

The expat also pointed to the fact that his Goan neighbours on the same plot had not been given the same treatment.

Another issue has arisen where expats have bought property while in the country on tourist visas as opposed to business or employment visas.

This is against the foreign exchange rules in India and is being used as a reason for confiscating homes and businesses.

Sir James Bevan, Britain's high commissioner to India, told the Goan in an interview: "I was reassured by the chief minister that British nationals and other foreign nationals do have the right to buy and own property provided they do that in accordance with the law.

"I was grateful for that assurance and I am confident that [the] chief minister and his team will give effect to it."

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