UK government scraps golden visas amid security concerns – Times of India

LONDON: The much-coveted golden visa to Britain which wealthy Indians have used to buy residency and citizenship is to be axed over national security concerns, home secretary Priti Patel announced Thursday.
The Tier 1 investor visa route will be closed to new applicants from all countries immediately amid fears that millionaires from corrupt countries are laundering illicit money through London, Assets and millionaires linked to President Putin based in the UK have come under great scrutiny in the wake of the Ukraine crisis.
The route had allowed residency in the UK if an applicant invested at least £2 million (Rs 20 crore) funds in share capital or loan capital in active trading UK registered companies.
The Home Office said: “It has been under constant review and some cases had given rise to security concerns, including people acquiring their wealth illegitimately and being associated with wider corruption. While work has been done to reform the route in order to prevent abuse, the Home Office has acted to close it.”
Patel said, “I want to ensure the British people have confidence in the system, including stopping corrupt elites who threaten our national security and push dirty money around our cities. Closing this route is just the start of our renewed crackdown on fraud and illegal finance.”
To still attract foreign investors to Britain, the UK government plans to make reforms to the innovator visa route.
“Settlement will now be conditional on applicants genuinely executing an investment strategy that can show job creation and other tangible economic impacts, while passively holding UK investments will no longer be enough to obtain settlement,” the home office said.
A total of 274 investor visas have been granted to Indians since 2009. In 2021 up to September, 21 Indians were issued golden visas. In 2020, 22 Indians got the visas. Besides, 55 Russians got the investor visa in the same period in 2021 compared to 141 Chinese.