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Panaji, Jun 4: They helped build brand Goa, fell in love with it and decided to stay on forever. But it seems that they have worn out their welcome.

Foreigners who helped make Goa what it is today are no longer welcome to stay. 'Spend your Euros and return home', is the clear message that is being sent out to the expatriates — especially the predominant British population. This message also extends to the French, German and Italian populace, among others, who have made Goa their home and run some of its most successful restaurants.

These expats have stayed on by extending their tourist visas, which demands them to return home after the expiry period. They inevitably return to India with an extension of the period of their stay. Ironically enough, the Congress government which is trying to make it difficult for foreigners with tourist visas to live permanently in Goa is unsure if its unwelcome gesture is legal. To begin with Chief Minister Pratapsing Rane said foreigners on tourist visas may no longer buy land or do business in the state. The business he is believed to be referring to includes running bars, bakeries and restaurants.

For instance, a German expatriate living in Anjuna began the first genuine production of whole wheat bread in the 70s. His success spawned a host of so-called 'German bread' bakeries in Goa. Candolim's (north Goa) La Fenice Pvt Ltd, a registered firm run by two Italians who have adopted Indian names and run a Italian restaurant or Mobor's (south Goa) Gaffino Ventures Inc whose director Brian Gaffino lives in California during the off season, are many such success stories.

Surprisingly, the first objection was raised by the Nationalist Congress party, whose president Dr Wilfred de Souza is married to a UK national. Rane responded saying his government would send circulars to concerned sub-registrars to submit details of foreigners seeking registration for buying property. The details and government's legal position will be studied before registering properties.

Rane has also threatened an investigation into properties already registered which could expose the nexus between locals who sell properties and foreign buyers contravening FEMA (foreign Exchange Management Act) that allows foreigners on business and commercial visas to buy properties by forming Indian companies under the Companies Act.

But not all foreigners are worried. Sinead Mcnanus who runs a hotel Pepper Valley near a wildlife sanctuary said, "I think it's fair. You must have laws that differentiate between business and tourist visas for those who want to run businesses at least." 


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