UK scraps investors visa amidst tensions with Russia

Officials said the decision to shut the Tier 1 route will apply to all new applicants from all nationalities with immediate effect



By Prasun Sonwalkar

Published: Fri 18 Feb 2022, 3:00 PM

The Boris Johnson government has scrapped the Tier 1 Investors Visa that allowed high net worth individuals from all countries to enter and settle in the United Kingdom with an investment of at least £2 million pounds, a visa route allegedly used by several Russian individuals.

The investment thresholds for the visa introduced in 2008 were £2 million, £5 million and £10 million, which led to permanent residence to the visa holders and dependents in five, three or two years respectively, leading to eventual citizenship. The funds were expected to be invested in share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies.

There have been concerns over the source of the investments made and checks carried out, with rules tightened in 2015. Demands to scrap the visa came to a head during ongoing Ukraine-related tensions with Russia, with the UK and allies considering economic sanctions.

Individuals from China and the Indian sub-continent are among those who have moved to the UK through the visa route since it was introduced by the former Labour government.

Officials said the decision to shut the Tier 1 Investor visa route will apply to all new applicants from all nationalities with immediate effect. They added that the visa has been under constant review and some cases had given rise to security concerns, including people acquiring their wealth illegitimately and being associated with wider corruption.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “I have zero tolerance for abuse of our immigration system. Under my New Plan for Immigration, 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 crack down on people abusing our financial institutions and better protect the taxpayer”, she added.

ALSO READ:

Since its introduction, officials said the Investor visa route has been reformed to improve its value to the UK economy and to reduce the exposure of the route to illicit finance.

Settlement of those already in the UK will now be conditional on applicants executing an investment strategy that can show genuine job creation and other tangible economic impacts, they said, adding that passively holding UK investments will no longer be enough to obtain settlement.


More news from World