A ‘golden visa’ that allows Indian and other foreign investors to migrate to the UK with at least £2 million is being halted from Friday over concerns over money-laundering and organised crime, official sources in London said on Thursday.
Launched in 2008, over 1,000 Tier 1 (Investors visa) have been granted until September 2018, mostly to Russian and Chinese investors, but they also include 76 Indian millionaires (and their 100 dependents) until 2017.
Immigration minister Caroline Nokes said: “The UK will always be open to legitimate and genuine investors who are committed to helping our economy and businesses grow”.
The decision to halt the visa comes following a review into the visa launched in May into applications since 2015, when the rules were tightened in the wake of concerns over foreign ‘dirty money’, enabling officials to seek information of source of funds.
“That is why I am bringing forward these new measures which will make sure that only genuine investors, who intend to support UK businesses, can benefit from our immigration system.”
The initial investments thresholds were £1 million, £5 million or £10 million, which led to permanent residence in 5, 3 or 2 years respectively, and eventual citizenship. The first threshold was raised to £2 million in 2014, while the other two remain the same.