The UK is getting ready to abolish its so-called “golden visa” regime within weeks, as Russian actions over Ukraine spurred renewed calls to deal with “soiled cash” flooding into the UK. The Tier 1 “investor visa” route has prior to now attracted rich Russian and different worldwide traders, who’ve resettled within the UK underneath the scheme.
The visas have been under evaluation since the UK’s relations with Russia deteriorated after the poisoning of former Russian agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury in 2018.
The foundations to qualify for investor visas — underneath which individuals should present they’ve a minimum of £2mn to spend money on the UK — had been tightened up in 2015 and checks on how candidates obtained their cash had been launched. Since 2019, candidates should even have proof of a UK checking account.
Nonetheless, allies of house secretary Priti Patel stated she was eager to scrap the entire regime resulting from issues the system might be exploited by these laundering illicit funds. Authorities officers confirmed plans had been being drawn as much as scrap the visas inside weeks.
Parliament’s intelligence and safety committee warned in 2020 that “the exploitation of the UK’s investor visa scheme” was a draw for a lot of Russians. It stated the UK had offered “best mechanisms” for the recycling of illicit finance, including it had changed into a “laundromat” for offshore wealth.
The federal government issued 798 investor visas within the 12 months to September 2021, 82 of which had been awarded to Russians. Over the identical interval, 210 visas had been issued to Chinese language nationals.
“These Tier 1 visas have been a gold-plated invite to launder cash within the UK,” stated Chris Bryant, a Labor MP who sits on the Commons international affairs choose committee.
February 16, 2022, published by The Financial Times.