Quick-track visas for international traders spending hundreds of thousands of kilos within the UK will probably be suspended in a crackdown on cash laundering.
The Residence Workplace mentioned it was pausing Tier 1 investor visas, dubbed “golden visas”, from midnight on Friday because it makes an attempt to deal with severe organised crime.
They are going to be reinstated as soon as toughened measures have been put in place, ministers mentioned.
Tier 1 visas have been launched in 2008 to draw non-EU residents to speculate hundreds of thousands of kilos into the UK, with greater than 1,000 granted within the 12 months ending September 2018.
An funding of £2m or extra may safe a visa and indefinite go away to stay after 5 years.
Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, proprietor of Chelsea soccer membership and pal of Russian President Vladimir Putin, withdrew his golden visa utility earlier this 12 months as relations between the 2 nations went south over the Salisbury spy poisoning.
Golden visa candidates may apply three months earlier than arriving within the UK and would get a choice inside three weeks, having paid a £1,623 payment.
For these wanting a fair speedier Tier 1 investor visa, they might pay £12,733.
Immigration minister Caroline Nokes mentioned: “The UK will at all times be open to reputable and real traders who’re dedicated to serving to our economic system and companies develop.
“Nevertheless, I’ve been clear that we are going to not tolerate individuals who don’t play by the principles and search to abuse the system.
“That’s the reason I’m bringing ahead these new measures which is able to be sure that solely real traders, who intend to help UK companies, can profit from our immigration system.”
Golden visas have been extensively condemned by those that imagine they go away the UK open to corruption or stolen funds being laundered by the UK from Russia, China and the Center East.
The Residence Workplace mentioned modifications would come with candidates having to offer complete audits of all their monetary and enterprise pursuits.
Audits must be carried out by regulated UK auditing corporations separate from any qualifying investments or the visa utility.
These making use of will even must show they’ve had management of the £2m for at the very least two years.
Reforms will even purpose to extend the advantages to UK corporations by excluding funding in authorities bonds and strengthening the principles to make sure investments are made in lively and buying and selling UK corporations.
It can even be potential for pooled investments, supported by the federal government, to again initiatives with a transparent financial profit to the UK, akin to supporting small and medium enterprises.
The modifications are a part of wider reforms to the visa system, which additionally embody changing the Tier 1 Graduate and Entrepreneur visa routes with a Begin-up visa, introduced in June, and the Innovator visa route.