The Government is set to scrap a visa scheme offering investors fast-track residency in the UK as ministers come under mounting pressure to sever economic ties with Russia.
The fast-track investor scheme, introduced in 2008, was designed to tempt wealthy investors from outside the EU to the UK, but government sources have confirmed the scheme was now under review.The so-called “golden visas” offer residency to those who invest £2m or more into the UK and allows their families to join them.
A £2m investment allows an application within five years, shortened to three years with £5m or two years if £10m is invested.
An announcement of the end of the scheme is expected next week as pressure mounts on ministers to rebuke Russia over its threats to invade Ukraine.
Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops on the Ukrainian border though it denies it is readying an invasion.
The move to scrap the visas has not been roundly welcomed however, with private wealth law firm Boodle Hatfield attacking it as a “damaging move” when the UK economy is still on the road to recovery.
Kyra Motley, partner at Boodle Hatfield said: “With the UK economy struggling to recover from the impact of COVID it seems very counterproductive to cut off wealthy overseas investors from the UK.”
“Almost every major economy wants to attract foreign capital and skills. Scrapping the Investor Visa will severely undermine the UK’s ability to do that.”
She argued that the UK needs a strategy that to attract capital and high net worth individuals are an “essential” part of that.