The global super-rich hoping to live and invest in the UK will face new visa restrictions as part of Home Office reforms designed to tackle organised crime and money laundering.
It will be suspended from Friday until new rules are put in place in 2019.
Responding to the government’s imminent suspension of its ’Golden Visa’ schemes, Ava Lee, Anti-Corruption Campaigner at Global Witness said:
“It is shameful that the UK government has sold residency to the super wealthy in return for an investment which they give back with interest, while missing their targets for providing unaccompanied child refugees with safe asylum.
“Better checks on ‘golden visa’ applicants are a welcome step forward in preventing the corruption risks inherent in these schemes, but until the rest of the Commonwealth follows suit, visa-free access to the UK is still very much for sale to anyone with a lot of cash to spare.”
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. 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 that only genuine investors, who intend to support UK businesses, can benefit from our immigration system.”
Global Witness has been investigating these schemes for two years, and has raised major concerns about their abuse by the corrupt and the criminal, outlining how they enable corruption in our October 2018 report ‘European Getaway: Inside the Murky World of Golden Visas’.