Twelve properties have already been confiscated while 32 owners have been served with eviction notices amid growing local resentment of foreigners owning homes and businesses in Goa. Local politicians have whipped up nationalist feelings against foreign owners who they blame for inflating property prices in the tropical holiday state.
A large influx of Russian and Israeli buyers has heightened tensions in the state amid allegations of drug trafficking and prostitution.
Local officials have identified around 450 foreign-owned properties in the state they believe were purchased illegally, many of them small retirement apartments, guesthouses and hotels owned by British residents.
One British guest house owner, who asked not to be named for fear of recrimination, said the move was motivated by “racism” which had been encouraged by local politicians.
He claimed he had been told the land he bought more than a decade ago had originally been agricultural and that his purchase was illegal unless he could provide permission documents for its conversion for tourism.

“People have bought old homes with licenses, planning permission but in retrospect they’ve changed the law so that foreigners can’t own,” he told The Daily Telegraph. “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.”
His Goan neighbours, despite sharing the same plot, had not been served with confiscation notices.
Others have been told their homes and businesses are being confiscated because they had been living in India on tourist visas when they bought their properties in breach of India’s foreign exchange rules. Under Indian law foreigners can only buy property if they have business or employment visas and have lived in the country for two years.
Sir James Bevan, Britain’s High Commissioner to India, met Goa’s chief minister recently to raise the concerns of British home-owners and said he had been assured that all those who had legally acquired their properties would be unaffected.
“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 Chief Minister and his team will give effect to it,” he told The Goan in an interview.
Anand Sherkhane, a Goa state government official, denied foreigners were being targeted unfairly.
“It’s not about whether they’re running successful businesses but whether they have the correct visa. They’re not being singled out because they’re foreigners. There are large numbers of foreigners not affected by this,” he said.
Rajan Ghate, a local leader of the Nationalist Congress Party who led a campaign for illegal properties to be confiscated, said he was “very happy” with the government’s decision.
“Many foreigners have purchased agriculture land illegally in violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act,” he said. “Local [people] are facing problems in earning their livelihood. Traditional businesses of locals are facing crisis. Colonisation has taken place, a mini-Russia has created trauma in the minds of the people,” he said “They should come as a tourist and return to their nation.”