This evening, several UK newspapers report that Home Secretary Priti Patel will announce an end to the UK’s popular Investor Visa program, formerly the Tier 1 Investor Visa, next week. The decision is reportedly motivated in part by a wish to cut economic ties to Russia amid the latter’s military buildup along its border with Ukraine.
The BBC and the Financial Times report that government sources have confirmed the Home Office is drawing up plans to scrap the program “within weeks” over concerns the program is being abused for money-laundering purposes. The same newspapers link the decision to “pressure on ministers to cut UK ties to Russia over the threat of invasion to Ukraine”, though this has not been substantiated by any particular government statement.
Although Russian main applicants have accounted for only about 18% of all UK Investor Visas issued since 2008, the program has often been the subject of additional scrutiny and criticism during flare-ups of Anglo-Russian diplomatic tension. In 2018, for example, the poisoning of former Russian agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury occasioned a review of the program.
IMI will be back with more as the story develops.
Christian Henrik Nesheim is the founder and editor of Investment Migration Insider, the #1 magazine – online or offline – for residency and citizenship by investment. He is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, documentary producer, and writer on the subject of investment migration, whose work is cited in the Economist, Bloomberg, Fortune, Forbes, Newsweek, and Business Insider. Norwegian by birth, Christian has spent the last 16 years in the United States, China, Spain, and Portugal.