The Tier 1 investor visa is known as the “golden visa” since it allows the extremely rich to rapidly obtain a visa for themselves and their families, allowing them to work and study in the UK – or do neither. Unlike other visa types, there was no set amount of time that visa holders had to spend in the UK to keep their status, although this did expire after two years.
It could potentially be extended indefinitely if the investment was kept up, and it gave a clear path to permanent residency in the United Kingdom. Russia and China account for the majority of golden visa holders. The golden visa was established in 1994 and reintroduced in its current form in 2008. Stopping the golden visa altogether, according to several immigration lawyers, is not the best option because it would prohibit “top-tier talent and investment” from coming to the UK.
The policy had been under scrutiny for some time, and opponents planned to press for a suspension of the visas through an amendment to the House of Lords nationality and borders bill, which is set to be considered later this month. Since the start of the investor visa scheme, several improvements have been made, including further checks on how and when applicants earned their wealth.
Banks must now perform certain checks before creating accounts for applicants, who must also submit additional paperwork if their eligible funds are invested through a series of firms. Rather than passively holding UK-based investments, investors will be urged to apply for a “innovator” visa and demonstrate “an investment strategy that can show true job creation and other tangible economic advantages.”
Ending Tier 1 investor visas for individuals spending at least £2 million, according to Priti Patel, is the start of a “renewed crackdown on illicit finance and fraud.” “I have zero tolerance for abuse of our immigration system,” Ms Patel stated. I want to ensure the British people have confidence in the system, including stopping corrupt elites who threaten our national security and push dirty money around our cities.
“Closing this route is just the start of our renewed crackdown on fraud and illicit finance. We will be publishing a fraud action plan, while the forthcoming Economic Crime Bill will crackdown on people abusing our financial institutions and better protect the taxpayer.”
Other world countries have also made big changes to their “Golden Visa” rules, some making it even easier to obtain. Read about Portugal’s changes to their “Golden Visa” scheme.