‘Golden Visas’ scraped by UK; amidst security concerns

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British government brings an end to its tier-one investor scheme for wealthy foreign investors amid security concerns relating to the transfer of illicit funds from Russia to the UK. Russian oligarchs routinely abused the ‘Golden Visa’ scheme to infiltrate British society.

The Home office said, the Golden visa programme would be closed for all new applicants from all nations with “immediate effect”, further adding that some applicants had given rise to security concerns, including people acquiring their wealth illegally and being associated with colossal corruption.

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The decision was taken by the home office regarding the security concerns relating to the transfer of illicit funds from Russia into the UK and about Moscow’s influence in the UK as tensions continue about a Russian invasion in Ukraine.

Priti Patel, Home Secretary, stated on Thursday, 17 February, “I have zero tolerance for abuse of our system related to immigration. The new immigration plan will ensure Britain that they can have full confidence in the system as I will try to stop all the corrupt elites who threaten our national security.”

According to Labour Former minister Chris Bryant, “The Golden Visa scheme has provided wealthy businessmen of Russia with a loophole to push dirty money into the UK.”

The Golden Visa programme was launched in the year 2008, which allowed foreign investors with a bank account in the UK and a minimum of $2.7 million fast-track access to residency in the UK.

In the very first decade of this programme, 700 golden visas were issued only to wealthy Russians and between 2015 to 2020, 1400 visas were provided to investors from different regions.

The scrapping policy will also allow Home Office to review those visas that have been granted earlier under this scheme. The British government once reviewed the permits in 2018 but didn’t take any measures at that time.

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