There has been a sharp rise in the number of wealthy Russians migrating to the UK, according to Home Office figures.
By applying for elite “investor visas”, they have been able to secure settlement in Britain more quickly than they would if applying via the normal route.
These specialist visas are for migrants from outside the EU who wish to gain permanent residence in Britain in return for gilt investments with up to £10m.
The home office has reported a more than doubling in the number of these visas applied for in the first quarter of 2014, and the number issued to Russians between the last quarter of 2013 and the first quarter of 2014 went up by 109 per cent.
In fact, a fifth of all investor visas granted between January and March went to Russians, who now fall behind only China in terms of number of applications made from a country.
It is not just investor visas that have resulted in more Russians moving to London and the rest of the UK, either: between 2012 and 2013, there was a twenty per cent increase in the total number of visas granted to Russians looking for entry to the UK.
Kamal Rahman, head of immigration at the law firm Mishcon de Reya, told the FT that the increase in the number of Russian clients had been “phenomenal”, explaining that they now account for between 65 and 70 per cent of turnover for her immigration business.
“The factors driving this are the geopolitical pressures,” she said. “At the moment, the unrest, the political situation, means people are seeking a Plan B, a safe place – and London tops the list every time.”