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Tier 1 golden visa scheme to be phased out in the United Kingdom

The UK government is expected to scrap fast-track residency through the so-called "golden visa" scheme due to pressure over the country's ties with Russia.

The UK government is expected to scrap fast-track residency through the so-called "golden visa" scheme due to pressure over the country's ties with Russia.

A government source told the BBC that an announcement on Tier 1 investor visas, which offer residency to those who invest at least £2 million, will be made next week.

The scheme was established in 2008 to entice wealthy individuals from outside the EU to invest in the United Kingdom.

The planned move comes amid Russia's ominous military presence of 100,000 troops along Ukraine's border.

The Tier 1 (investor) visa, also known as the 'golden visa,' allows those who invest £2 million or more in the UK to stay and bring their families with them.

Holders of these visas can then apply for permanent residency in the UK, which takes longer depending on how much money they put in.

An application can be submitted in five years for a £2 million investment, three years for $5 million, and two years for $10 million.

You can currently enter the UK on a Tier 1 (Investor) visa for three years and four months, with the option to extend your stay for another two years.

The rules permit you to do the following:

· work or study

· apply to settle after 2 years if you invest £10m

· apply to settle after 3 years if you invest £5m

· apply to settle after 5 years if you invest £2m

On BBC Radio 4's Today programme (17 February), armed forces minister James Heappey suggested that the change was due in part to the Kremlin's troop build-up near Ukraine.

He expressed himself as follows: "Changes were made to that in 2015 and 2019 to make sure that the checks were ever more stringent. But absolutely, as we enter into what could be a generation or longer of quite acute competition with Russia, all of the things that have become normal in Anglo-Russian relations over the last 30 years will be up for review. And that is, I think, what the home secretary and her team are looking at at the moment. "

Tom Tugendhat, the chair of the House of Commons foreign affairs select committee, called the scrapping of the golden visa system "great news" saying it was "so often used to get round proper checks"

As part of a report on Russian influence in the UK, the intelligence and security committee of Parliament argued in 2020 for a "more robust" approach to approving Tier 1 visas.

Chris Bryant, a former Labour minister, has previously called for a full review of the scheme, accusing the government of "giving out golden visas to dodgy Russian oligarchs" and claiming the scheme is being used as a "backdoor loophole" to channel dirty money into the UK.

In 2018, the Foreign Affairs Committee, which included now-Home Secretary Priti Patel at the time, published a report accusing ministers of endangering national security by "turning a blind eye" to Russian "dirty money" flowing through the City of London.

Despite the outrage over the Novichok nerve agent attack in Salisbury, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his allies continued to use London as a base for their "corrupt assets" according to this investigation.

Since the scheme began in 2008, the Home Office has issued 14,516 Russian investor visas.



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