UK Suspends Tier-1 Investors Visa in Financial Crime Crackdown

From next year independent auditors will check if the applicants have had the control over investment fund of 2 million pounds for at least two years.


The UK is suspending its Tier-1 investors visa in order to curb financial crimes including money laundering. These visas, often termed as “golden visas,” have been providing a fast track route for permanent residency in Britain or its citizenship to super-rich people.

Under Tier-1 investor visas, a person from outside European Union could get a visa and indefinite leave to remain after five years by investing 2 million pounds in the UK. However, there have been concerns that this scheme was being used for money laundering, reported BBC.

This suspension is a part of a crackdown on organized financial crimes which includes money laundering.

According to a statement by the Home Office of the United Kingdom, the suspension of these visas will be enforced from Dec.7 midnight, till the reformed rules are put in place in 2019, reported Bloomberg Quint.

Under the reformed system, applicants will have to provide audits of their financial and business interests. Independent auditors will check if the applicants have had the control over investment fund of 2 million pounds for at least two years.

Also, these applicants will not be allowed to invest in government bonds. Investment must be in inactive and trading companies in the UK.

The Guardian quoted Caroline Nokes, Immigration minister, as saying while announcing the suspension, “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,” she added.

In 2017, over 1,000 Tier-1 investor visas were issued by the UK. The requirement to apply under this scheme was holding a bank account in UK and applicant to be a person with “good character,” reported BBC.

The U.S. issues EB-5 visa on similar lines. EB-5 visa helps high net-worth individuals (HNIs) to obtain the green card for permanent residency in the United States for themselves and their immediate family through a one-time minimum investment of $500,000 into a new business that creates 10 or more jobs for Americans.

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