The government has taken the call to scrap the so-called “golden visa” scheme, which had offered wealthy investors fast-track residency to the UK.
The residency scheme was introduced by Labour in 2008 to encourage investment in Britain from outside the EU. It allowed entry and stay in the UK to those investing £2m or more.
The rules around qualification were tightened up in 2015, amid concerns over a lack of background checks being made on applicants. Proof of a UK bank account is now required (since 2019).
Now Home Secretary Priti Patel confirmed that the route will be closing with immediate effect “to all new applicants from all nationalities”.
In comments to City A.M. and responding to the move, Kyra Motley, from a leading London based private wealth firm, pointed out that “on a conservative calculation, the Investor Visa scheme has brought in over £17bn of investment into the UK over the last decade.
The government issued 798 investor visas in the 12 months to September 2021, of which 82 have been given to Russian nationals and 210 to Chinese nationals. 2,581 investor visas have been granted to Russian citizens since 2008.