The process offered fast-track residency to foreign investors injecting at least £2m into Britain
The UK government reportedly intends to scrap the golden visa scheme which offered fast-track residency to foreign investors amid concerns about potential abuse and money laundering.
A government source confirmed authorities would make an official announcement on the visa scheme next week amid fears it has been open to abuse, the BBC reported on Thursday.
Officially known as “Tier 1 Investor Visas”, the scheme provided overseas investors who inject at least £2 million ($2.76 million) into the UK, and their families, with permanent resident status, having been set up to encourage wealthy individuals to fund projects in Britain.
Investors are required to invest the £2m within five years or can shorten the process to three years by spending £5m ($6.79m) or two if they donate £10m. pounds ($13.59 million). The process has been scrutinized by the UK government for some time to address fears it could be exploited to facilitate corruption.
The UK has already been condemned at national level for the existence of the scheme and for the lax control of the funds received. Speaking in the House of Lords earlier this year, his Liberal Democrat counterpart Lord Wallace said the UK is “behave like Cyprus and Malta by selling the residence”, suggesting it undermines Britain’s status as a “great world country.”
Incredibly wealthy citizens from a number of countries, including China, Kazakhstan and Russia, have gained residency since its launch in 2008, by investing money in the UK through this scheme.
In a report on Russia published in 2020 by the Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee, it was claimed that a “a more robust approach to the approval process for these visas” is necessary to disrupt “threat posed by illicit” funds.
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