Priti Patel announces IMMEDIATE end to 'golden visas'

Priti Patel turns up the heat on Russian oligarchs as she announces IMMEDIATE end to ‘golden visas’ allowing anyone with £2m to invest into the UK – citing ‘security concerns’

  • The Home Secretary is scrapping a ‘golden visa’ scheme for wealthy investors
  • There are fears the scheme is being abused by gangs and the super-rich
  • The scheme was introduced 13 years ago to bring investment into the UK
  • It comes amid concerns over Russian ‘dirty money’ and the crisis in Ukraine 

Priti Patel today turned up the heat on Russian oligarchs as she announced the immediate end of a ‘golden visas’ giving anyone with £2million to invest access to the UK.

The Home Secretary cited ‘security concerns’ as she declared that the Tier 1 scheme will be closed to new applicants from all countries. 

Fears had been raised that the route was being abused by criminal gangs and the super-rich from overseas, 13 years after they were introduced by Labour in an effort to draw investment to the UK.

More than 12,000 have been doled out, including 2,500 to Russians. 

The Ukraine crisis has led Ms Patel to bring forward the demise of the scheme, after efforts to reform it in the past.

‘I have zero tolerance for abuse of our immigration system. Under my New Plan for Immigration, 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,’ she said.

‘Closing this route is just the start of our renewed crackdown on fraud and illicit finance. We will be publishing a fraud action plan, while the forthcoming Economic Crime Bill will crackdown on people abusing our financial institutions and better protect the taxpayer.’ 

A visa scheme that allows rich foreigners to live in Britain in exchange for a minimum £2million investment is to be scrapped by Priti Patel (pictured) amid concerns over Russian ‘dirty money’

The end to the scheme will be seen as part of a range of sanctions being drawn up against Moscow amid the Ukraine crisis.

The Home Office said the Tier 1 visas had 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’.

It said the move demonstrated that the government will be ‘firm against those wanting to abuse the immigration system’.

Reforms are expected to be made to the Innovator route, part of the new points-based immigration system, to encourage people coming to invest.

The findings of a review into all Tier 1 Investor visas granted between 2008 and April 2015 will be published ‘in due course’. 

Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov yesterday warned Moscow would ‘retaliate’ if new sanctions were imposed by Britain, without going into detail.

UK ministers last week gained powers to impose tough new sanctions on Russian oligarchs and businesses should it invade Ukraine.

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