Tuesday 11 December 2018 12:27 pm

Home Office backtracks on plans to scrap ‘golden visas’ for rich investors

The Home Office has rowed back on plans to halt visas for wealthy investors just days after the suspension was announced.

Last week immigration minister Caroline Nokes announced that the visas would be suspended at midnight last Friday amid fears about money laundering and organised crimes.

However, today the Home Office confirmed that the visas were not suspended.

A spokesperson said: “The tier 1 (investor) visa is not currently suspended, however we remain committed to reforming the route.

“A further announcement will be made in due course.”

Last week Nokes said: “I have been clear that we will not tolerate people who do not play by the rules and seek to abuse the system.”

She added: “That is why I am bringing forward these new measures which will make sure that only genuine investors, who intend to support UK businesses, can benefit from our immigration system.”

Tier 1 investor visas allow non-European Union residents over three years entry to the UK in return for £2m in investment in UK bonds, share capital or loan capital in UK companies

The Times reports that the suspension is due to opposition from other government departments.

Philip Barth, partner and head of immigration at law firm Irwin Mitchell said: “This is no way to run an immigration policy, effectively trying to legislate by press release.”

He added: “There were eyebrows raised when the change of policy was hastily announced through a press release with no prior consultation with immigration law practitioners and no formal Home Office notice, and to have backtracked so quickly shows that much more care needs to be taken with this kind of policy.”