News | World News | Home Office suspends 'gold-plated' visas that fast-track oligarchs moving to the UK

Home Office suspends 'gold-plated' visas that fast-track oligarchs moving to the UK

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Home Office suspends 'gold-plated' visas that fast-track oligarchs moving to the UK in money laundering crackdown

  • Tier 1 investor visas currently allow the super-rich to fast-track moves to the UK 
  • However, as of midnight tomorrow, visas will be suspended by the Home Office 
  • The government is attempting to reduce organised crime and money laundering 

By Georgia Edkins For The Daily Mail

Published: 20:55 EST, 5 December 2018 | Updated: 03:15 EST, 6 December 2018

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Immigration minister Caroline Nokes said the UK hoped to block foreign investors from abusing the system
Immigration minister Caroline Nokes said the UK hoped to block foreign investors from abusing the system

Immigration minister Caroline Nokes said the UK hoped to block foreign investors from abusing the system

A government crackdown on the number of ‘gold-plated’ oligarchs allowed into the UK will come into effect tomorrow, it has been reported.

So-called Tier 1 investor visas allow the super-rich to fast-track their move to the UK in return for millions of pounds of investment into government bonds or British businesses.

But as of midnight, the visas will be suspended in a bid to reduce organised crime and money laundering, according to the Times.

No new Tier 1 visa applications from foreign investors will be accepted and the granting of visas will be suspended until further notice. Those who have already submitted their applications will have them processed.

Under future reforms for Tier 1 visas - expected to introduced next year - investors will have to provide audits of their finances which will be regulated UK auditing firms.

They will also have to prove they had control of their money for at least two years before they apply for the visa and will not be able to invest in government bonds so more money is directed into British companies. 

Last night immigration minister Caroline Nokes said the UK hoped to block foreign investors from abusing the system while helping those that seek to invest in UK companies.

She told the Times: ‘The UK will always be open to legitimate and genuine investors who are committed to helping our economy and businesses grow. However, I have been clear that we will not tolerate people who do not play by the rules and seek to abuse the system.

‘That is why I am bringing forward these new measures which will make sure only genuine investors, who intend to support UK businesses, can benefit from our immigration system.’

It is thought Russian and Chinese citizens make up 60 per cent of the 3,000 foreign investors who have been granted Tier 1 visas in the last ten years.

The government crackdown on the number of ‘gold-plated’ oligarchs is a bid to reduce organised crime and money laundering
The government crackdown on the number of ‘gold-plated’ oligarchs is a bid to reduce organised crime and money laundering

The government crackdown on the number of ‘gold-plated’ oligarchs is a bid to reduce organised crime and money laundering

The controversial investor passes have been widely condemned by critics who believe they are open to being tainted by the proceeds of corruption and may have led to stolen funds from Russia and China being laundered through Britain.

Under the system, oligarchs were able to invest either £2million, £5million or £10million in government bonds or British businesses. In return the Government would allow them to apply for permanent residence in the country for five, three or two years.

After that time is up, they can apply for British citizenship, the Times reported.

As of midnight, no new applications from foreign investors will be accepted. Those who have already submitted their applications will have them processed.

Under future plans which are expected to come into play by next year, investors will have to provide audits of their finances which will be regulated UK auditing firms.

They will also have to prove they had control of their money for at least two years before they apply for the visa and will not be able to invest in government bonds so more money is directed into British companies. 

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