Wealthy investors seeking a fast-track route to settlement in the UK are to face new restrictions under a Home Office crackdown on money laundering.
The scheme, which is particularly popular among Russian and Chinese nationals, requires an investment of £2m in return for a five-year track to permanent residence, while those paying £5m wait only three years, and investors of £10m can apply after two years. The investments can be made in gilts, government bonds, or UK companies. About 1,000 such visas were issued in 2017.
However, following concerns that the scheme is being used to launder money, the entire investor visa route will be suspended at midnight on Friday while an investigation takes place. Tighter rules will then be imposed in 2019, including comprehensive audits of all financial and business interests carried out by “suitably regulated UK auditing firms“ who have “no involvement with any qualifying investments or the visa application“.