Author Archives: Xavier Augustin

About Xavier Augustin

Xavier Augustin is the Founder and CEO of Y-Axis Overseas Careers, India's No.1 Overseas Careers and Immigration Consultant.

How much of a Global Indian am I?


I consider myself a Global Indian.

I am among a growing tribe of Indians who live a life of duality. We either live abroad or have come home but enjoy and appreciate best of both the world.

I live in Hyderabad – home to Google, Amazon and Facebook, Subways, KFCs, McDonalds and hotels like Westin. Sometimes the world I left behind comes chasing me. Though I live here my mind continuously lives between there and here – the mind continuously maps, compares, transfers pictures between the two worlds. Living a dual existence means trying to settle in somewhere – sometimes trying to accept – sometimes trying to be accepted.

I lived more than 12 years abroad, more than a quarter of my life but have always yearned to come back home. I came back almost 12 years back when a renaissance was beginning in India. Things have never looked back since then and India in the course became of an emerging power. And so there was no need to return to my adopted home.

I know I can settle in a shady boulevard anywhere in the developed world but I love the chaos of my city – the growth opportunities in India are incomparable.

My family and friends have branched out all over the world – most of them in the Bay Area and others in the UK, Australia and the Gulf. Though I am tempted to live every time I visit them I prefer to stick to my roots.

Though I attended classes in New Hampshire, South Caroline, New York and California, I actually learnt about the world from its streets, its airports, its campuses, its offices.

Though my mother tongue is Malayalam, and can speak Hindi and Telegu, and understand Kannada and Tamil, I think, read, write, joke, persuade, protest, scream, imagine, scream, seduce, placate, and negotiate the best in English. I flirted with German and French but remain loyal to my first love, English.

Though I am highly patriotic, I consider myself an Anglophile and love all things British and Victorian. Though I work and live in India, not a day goes by without Americana values and tastes.
My favourite places are scattered around the world and know several streets in Hyderabad, Mumbai, London, New York and the Bay Area.

Every morning I look forward to read The International Herald in hardcopy and cant stop myself reading the New York Times, San Jose Mercury News and the Slate Magazine on my BlackBerry.

I live in Hyderabad and make at least overseas trips in a year. I return to the Bay Area every 2 years and am as enthusiastic as ever to get in touch with my family and friends there.

I live the life of an Indian who lives to his full potential because he left his home and country and returned. My goal is to help Indians pursue becoming Global Indians.

The latest, hippest and the coolest caste to be in is The Global Indian. Join it. And broaden your mind and wallet. Unlike other caste and communities, you can’t just be born into it – you have to earn it.

by Xavier Augustin, CEO, Y-Axis Overseas Careers

Ajit Jain on giving. The opposite of his boss. And for a good reason.

Buffett, in India, said people should give. Do you personally follow that, in terms of charity, give away personal wealth?A difficult and personal question and my views have changed somewhat over time. We have a son who’s been diagnosed with a serious illness and before he was diagnosed, I was in favour of the Buffett philosophy. I always felt I have got this fame, this wealth, I didn’t deserve, it doesn’t belong to me. But after my son’s illness, things did change. I didn’t deserve this and he didn’t deserve what he is getting.

So, in terms of my giving, without getting into too much of details of how things have changed, one, we focus on the Foundation that’s trying to find a cure for his illness. Second, I feel guilty, inasmuch as in his earlier life when he was healthy, I wouldn’t let him spend money and have a nice time. So, I have taken a U-turn and now I spend a lot of money and freely.

A difficult and personal question and my views have changed somewhat over time. We have a son who’s been diagnosed with a serious illness and before he was diagnosed, I was in favour of the Buffett philosophy. I always felt I have got this fame, this wealth, I didn’t deserve, it doesn’t belong to me. But after my son’s illness, things did change. I didn’t deserve this and he didn’t deserve what he is getting.

So, in terms of my giving, without getting into too much of details of how things have changed, one, we focus on the Foundation that’s trying to find a cure for his illness. Second, I feel guilty, inasmuch as in his earlier life when he was healthy, I wouldn’t let him spend money and have a nice time. So, I have taken a U-turn and now I spend a lot of money and freely.

Keep it Simple: Narayana Murthy

I have always said that a good leader simplifies business. It doesn’t matter what business he or she runs. So, I would suggest that we use simple business rules, not complex or compound ones. The good thing about simple business rules is that it is easy to understand, easy to practice, easy to communicate, and you cannot cheat anybody with simple business rules. And you can enthuse every one of your colleagues with simple business rules because there is transparency, there is fairness, and there is accountability.As far as the youth of this country is concerned, I would say that for the first time in the last 300 years, this country has received recognition in the global markets, and received certain respect. This is the time for us to work hard, this is the time for us to work smart and consolidate on the gains. Indians are generally not known to have the killer instinct or not known to run the last mile. Yesterday was a wonderful exception when the Indian cricketers beat the Australians. But that is a rare one.
We have to make it a habit. We have to make it a habit of what Dhoni and others did yesterday. That is make sure that all the good things that they have achieved in the last 10 years becomes a habit. To do that, you need continued discipline, hard work, smartness, integrity and putting the interest of the country above your own personal interest.

Britain lures the ultra-rich

Britain lures the ultra-rich

Britain lures the ultra-rich

Britain lures the ultra-richBritain is preparing to change the immigration rules for wealthy non-EU nationals in a bid to lure more foreign cash into the country.

The government is expected to announce changes to investor visas in mid March, which will cut the time high net worth individuals have to spend in the country, beginning April. People who come on the visa will have to spend just six months in the UK, rather than a previous limit of nine. Depending on the amount they invest in Britain, they will be able to qualify for permanent residency in as little as two years and none will be subject to the immigration cap being introduced.

The changes are part of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat strategy to increase foreign investment into the UK, staving off criticisms that tightening up the immigration system will starve the British economy of the much needed funds.

Investment needs

Under the current regulations, investors bringing £1 million into the UK must put at least 75 per cent of it into government bonds or equity, and its likely that the changes will also include requirements on similar investment requirements.

Law firms dealing with high net worth individuals say there has been a surge in interest in an immigration route that has been underused to date. “It’s not about the amount of money they have to invest; these high net worth individuals are short of time, so having to spend nine months a year in the UK, has always been a sticking point,” says Mr Kamal Rahman, immigration specialist and partner at London-based law firm Mishcon de Reya. “If we had reduced this earlier, we’d have had many more people bringing funds in.”

Permanent residency

Since the changes were made, the law firm has received considerable new interest from potential investors in India, and the other BRICS, as well as from North Africa and South-East Asia.

The government will also graduate the time it takes an investor to gain permanent residency based on the size of the investment, replacing the single rule that required all investors to stay for at least five years. Though that rule will be maintained for those bringing in 1 million pounds, people willing to put £5 million into British investments such as government bonds, equity and real estate will qualify for permanent residency in just three years, with those bringing in at least £10 million eligible in two years. While rules for acquiring British citizenship will remain the same for now, the government has indicated that it will be consulting on potential changes to this too.

The investor route has, so far, accounted for a tiny proportion of non-EU migration to the UK. In 2009, just 155 investors entered the UK through that route, bringing with them 280 dependents, according to Home Office figures – a sharp increase on the 45 that used it the year earlier, but still a fraction of what the government believes is the potential 1,000 a year who could enter by that route.

Surge in interest

The tightening up of the British system, over the past couple of years, has led to more interest in this route from high net worth individuals, though the time requirements meant it was often families, rather than the investors themselves who entered the UK, says Ms Ceris Gardner, a partner at law firm Maurice Turnor Gardner. She believes that easing the time requirements will make it more attractive to investors. In the past few weeks, for example, the company has seen a surge in interest from wealthy Egyptians looking for options abroad.

However, Britain’s very reason for relaxing the rules on this new route could play against it when it comes to major investments. Concerns about the British economy could prove a disincentive to potential investors looking at where to put their money. “We have seen a lot of scepticism about the economy,” says Ms Gardner. “People may be willing to bring in a million [pounds] but they balk at the idea of bringing £5 or £10 million into the UK.”

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Under the current regulations, investors bringing £1 million into the UK must put at least 75 per cent of it into government bonds or equity.

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(This article was written by Vidya Ram, London, Feb 17 and published in the Business Line print edition dated February 18, 2011)

English is the de facto national language of India

English is the de facto national language of India. It is a bitter truth. Many Indians would say that India’s national language is Hindi. They would say it with pride if they are from the north and with a good-natured grouse if they are from the south. But this is a misconception. The fact is that, according to the Indian Constitution, the country does not have a national language.
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UK’s Investor Visa: Got Millions? Enter and Stay.

UK Investor Visa

UK Investor Visa

LONDON: Even as visa rules for ordinary people are being tightened with an annual cap for non-European Union nationals set to kick in soon, the “super-rich” would be able to literally buy their way into Britain under new plans to attract wealthy investors.

Media reports on Monday said the proposed rules would not only make it easier for the rich to enter Britain but, depending on how much money they bring in, they would be able to obtain British residency rights without going through too many hoops.

Industrialists, willing to invest millions of pounds in Britain, would be required to spend only six months — against nine months under current rules — to qualify for a visa and the waiting time for permanent residency would be “dramatically cut for the wealthiest entrants,” according to The Financial Times.

The newspaper said investors bringing in £10 million would qualify for permanent residency within two years and those with at least £5 million would qualify in three. The “poorest” of them — those investing £1 million — have to wait for five years.

Currently, anyone on an investor visa must stay for at least five years to become eligible for permanent residency.

“Those applying for an entrepreneur visa would also see restrictions eased. It is expected businesses will be allowed to bring in an extra employee from overseas in return for an additional investment of £50,000,” said the report.

The so-called “high net worth individuals” are already exempt from the controversial annual cap which will see visas for skilled workers and students drop sharply as part of the Tory-led government’s plans to reduce annual net migration from “hundreds of thousands” to “tens of thousands.”

Hasan Suroor for The Hindu, Feb 8, 2011

Huge spike in illegal Indian traffic to US via Mexico

Illegal Migration through Mexico

WASHINGTON: Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Indians are sneaking into the United States across the Mexico border in what American authorities are saying is a sudden and unexpected spike in illegal immigration — from a country half way across the world which is said to be in the throes of an economic boom.

More than 1,600 Indians have been caught since the influx began in early 2010, while an undetermined number, perhaps thousands, are believed to have slipped through undetected, according to US border authorities cited in an account by the Center for Investigative Reporting and published by the Los Angeles Times on Sunday.
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New PF norms leave expats in lurch

NEW DELHI: Nearly 7,000 expatriates are caught in a battle between India and the United States over contributions made by their citizens towards provident and pension funds and social security.

The Employees Provident Fund Organization, which handles provident and pension funds for the organized sector employees in India, recently tightened the norms which has resulted in protests from expats, and their employers. Following the amendments, international workers would be permitted to withdraw their accumulated balance only after they turn 58. Though contribution to PF and Employees Pension Scheme (EPS), which amounts to 12% of the monthly pay, was mandated in 2008, withdrawals were permitted at the end of an expat’s employment in India. Now, withdrawals are only permitted in case of permanent and total incapacity to work or in case of those suffering from cancer, leprosy or tuberculosis.

An exemption towards EPFO contribution has only been made in case of employees from countries with which India has signed Social Security Agreements and the list includes three nations-Belgium, France and Germany. For India, this is retaliatory action prompted by the refusal of the US to sign a Totalization Agreement that would make it possible for Indian professionals, several of whom are IT company employees on onsite visits, to get their dues when they finish their employment. In the absence of a Totalization Agreement, the US refused to refund the money deducted from the salaries of Indian professionals towards social security contribution.

Despite the Indian government making a case for a pact for over a decade, the US has refused to sign one saying India does not have a social security system. It has refused to accept the EPF or even the New Pension Scheme as one. In the absence of an agreement, Indians working in the US have complained for years that they are losing significant amounts. Continue reading

Dual Tax Residency not an Answer to Tax Woes

Residency is an important factor in determining taxability of an individual. If an individual qualifies as a tax resident of a particular country, he is generally taxed on his global income in that country. The residency in a particular country is determined by rules that include physical presence, domicile and citizenship as may be prescribed under the domestic tax laws of different countries.

The individual who travels frequently and works in cross-border locations may sometime face a situation of ‘dual tax residency’. Dual tax residency means acquiring tax residency of two countries simultaneously in a particular tax year by satisfying the specified conditions of domestic tax laws of both the countries. Continue reading