Golden visas sus­pended to stop laun­der­ing

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

BRI­TAIN will sus­pend its top-tier in­vestor visas, which re­quire £2 mil­lion (R35m) in in­vest­ment, as part of a drive to crack down on or­gan­ised crime and money laun­der­ing.

From Rus­sian oli­garchs and Mid­dle Eastern oil barons to newly-minted Chi­nese en­trepreneurs, the wealthy have flocked to Lon­don over the past two decades, snap­ping up ev­ery­thing from op­u­lent homes to soc­cer clubs.

The in­flux of su­per-rich has brought tens of bil­lions of pounds in in­vest­ment and helped Lon­don pre­serve its po­si­tion as one of the world’s top two global fi­nan­cial cap­i­tals, though the gov­ern­ment has been con­cerned by the prove­nance of some of the wealth.

“I have been clear that we will not tol­er­ate peo­ple who do not play by the rules and seek to abuse the sys­tem,” Im­mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter Caro­line Nokes said. “That is why I am bring­ing for­ward these new mea­sures which will make sure only gen­uine in­vestors, who in­tend to sup­port UK busi­nesses, can ben­e­fit from our im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem.”

The tier 1 in­vestor visas, which of­fered non-EU res­i­dents over three years en­try in re­turn for £2m in in­vest­ment in UK bonds, share cap­i­tal or loan cap­i­tal in UK com­pa­nies, will be sus­pended from mid­night tonight.

After the changes, ap­pli­cants seek­ing to in­vest in the UK will have to pro­vide com­pre­hen­sive au­dits of all fi­nan­cial and busi­ness in­ter­ests, the in­te­rior min­istry said. The au­dits will have to be car­ried out by UK-reg­is­tered au­dit­ing firms. | Reuters

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