Indians Top Among Millionaires Using UK Golden Visa
As many as 72 Indian millionaires have migrated to the UK using the Golden visa since 2008.
Since the introduction of Tier 1 Investors Visa in 2008, as many as 72 Indian millionaires have used the ‘Golden Visa’ scheme to migrate to the United Kingdom with their dependents, according to the latest figures by Britain’s Home Office.
Changes in Investment Threshold
People from countries such as China, Russia and the United States have also used the Tier 1 Investors visa, the Hindustan Times reported. The minimum investment required under the category was £1 million until November 2014. It was raised to £2 million in February 2015 after a Home Office committee realised that the threshold wasn’t benefitting the UK economy much.
Visa holders and their dependents got permanent residence based on their investment thresholds, which were £1, £5 million or £10 million, after five, three or two years of stay respectively, and eventual citizenship. The first threshold was raised to £2 million.
Call for Stricter Checks
Concerns about money misused through the visa was raised by Campaign group Transparency International (TI). The group called for stricter checks on applicants and their investment plans in a recent report titled Paradise Lost.
In the report it made recommendations to make sure than Britain doesn’t become “a prime destination for corrupt individuals looking to invest or launder the proceeds of their illicit wealth, enjoy a luxury lifestyle and cleanse their reputations”.
Sir David Metcalf, head of the government’s independent migration advisory committee, had criticised the policy in January last year, saying British taxpayers were at a loss while the government encouraged wealthy foreigners to move come to the UK. “There is very little in it for the UK, there is a huge amount in it for the investor,” he had said, according to an earlier Financial Times report.
From the figures released by Home Office it can be seen that since the threshold was changed to £2 million, the number of people receiving the golden visas has been on a decline. The number of visas granted dropped from 471 in the final quarter of 2014 to 57 in the first quarter of 2015, the FT report said, adding that the first quarter of 2016 recorded a further fall of 26 per cent fall to 42, compared with the first quarter of 2015.