This scheme was introduced in 2008 to encourage wealthy people outside the European Union to invest in the UK. The investor visa, often referred to as the ‘golden visa’, allows people who have invested at least £2 million in the UK to stay, and also allows their families to join them.
These visa holders can then apply for permanent residence in the UK at a rate that depends on the amount they have invested. For an investment of £2 million you can apply for permanent residence after five years, if the investment is at least £5 million you can do it after three years, and an investment of £10 million, only two years later. Unlike other visa categories, there is no minimum time that visa holders must spend in the UK to maintain their status, although this will expire after two years of absence.
Due to suspicions that the program was used for fraudulent purposes, including money laundering, its conditions were tightened twice – in 2015 and 2019, for example. Through stricter controls on how investors acquire wealth, it has been under more scrutiny for some time. Threats related to the program were identified, among other things, by the year 2020 in the Parliamentary Security and Intelligence Committee’s report on Russian influence in the UK.
And according to British media Thursday, Home Secretary Priti Patel will announce the closure of the program either next week or after that. “There are security concerns about this visa pathway and we have been considering closing it for some time. The Home Secretary is well aware of the effects of money laundering in the UK and is therefore pushing for closure. Legal applicants will be able to apply for entry into the UK via other avenues.” – According to what was reported by Sky News, quoting a government source.
As this station indicates, most of the people who obtained the right of residence in Great Britain in this way come from Russia and China. According to data from the British Home Office, investor visas until the end of March 2020 were granted to 2,581 Russian citizens.
Regarding the situation around Ukraine, the British government last week published new regulations that allow to impose sanctions not only on those directly responsible for aggression against this country, but also on people and companies with links to the strategic interests of Russia.
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