You may enter Tier 1 Investor Visa program investing not less than £2 million. And that is not about real estate. Golden visas (Tier 1 Investor Visa) allow wealthy individuals to buy the right to live in the UK if they invest in UK-registered companies. Individuals that invest £2 million get an immediate right to live in the UK for 3 years followed by a 2-year extension. Those that invest £10 million can be fast-tracked to get indefinite leave to remain within 2 years, or within 3 years if they invest £5 million. From indefinite leave to remain visa holders are on a steady path, after one year, to much prized UK citizenship.
Now 50% of all golden visas issued are being reviewed by the Home Office for potential national security risks. Many of the individuals issued visas in this period will have become eligible to apply for citizenship over the past few years. In particular, those who applied in a huge surge during 2014 will have reached citizenship eligibility during 2020. Clarity on whether visa holders were adequately vetted before being granted citizenship and details of how many were refused citizenship following vetting is essential.
The loopholes in the current regime regarding Tier 1 Investor Visa program include:
- excessive reliance by the Home Office on wealth managers, who benefit financially from investments made, to do due diligence on applicants’ source of wealth;
- no requirement to provide mandatory evidence of the source of wealth that has
been held for more than 2 years;
- and no requirement to provide mandatory evidence of the source of wealth where money has been ‘gifted’ to an applicant.
As the UK government gets set to introduce its New Plan for Immigration based on the principle of fairness, an urgent audit of whether the golden visa regime fits with that principle, and protects the UK against dirty money, is essential.
They call 2008-2015 – the ’blind faith’ period, when little or no checks were carried out on applicants’ wealth. The key audience were Russian nationals during that time. But that would be more correct to say – citizens from CIS region. For example, among people whose cases would be reopened would be Izzat Javadova, first cousin of President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, who has a lot of accusations in corruption. Other recipients include: Nirav Modi, awaiting extradition to India from the UK for a £1.5 billion fraud and money laundering scam against a state-owned bank. Madiyar Ablyazov, son of a former energy minister in Kazakhstan accused of stealing over £7 billion from a Kazakh bank, which resulted in losses of £1.3 billion to UK bank, RBS.
Note that there is quite easier way to have right to enter UK and live there for half of the year without visa, if you like. Like one of the Caribbean Citizenship by Investment Programs. As a citizen, for example, Saint Kitts and Nevis or Saint Lucia, you may enter UK without visa and stay for 180 days every year.