Taking full advantage of the United Kingdom’s Visa Tier-1, which also is known as “Golden Visa”, thousands of people from around the world have already brought-in billions of pounds to Britain and invested in various business ventures. Similarly, notorious jihadist outfits such as Islamic State (ISIS), Hezbollah, Hamas, and even Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba or Dawood Ibrahim’s D-Company have found the “Golden Visa” offer as one of the best opportunities of mobilizing billions of their dirty money into Britain. Not only that, but several notorious terrorists have also obtained immigrant visa in the United Kingdom under this scheme.
In March 2019, spurred by the ‘Novichok’ nerve-agent attack on Sergei Skrippal, the British government planned to target the dirty money. In an attempted crackdown on money laundering, new Home Office rules that take effect in April will require visa applicants to prove they have had control of more than £2m for at least two years, rather than 90 days. The investments will also need to be made in UK businesses, while investing in gilts will be excluded, in an attempt to increase the benefit to the British economy.
The tier-one “investor visa” route has in the past attracted many wealthy Chinese and Russian investors who have resettled in the UK. But the scheme has been under review since the UK’s relations with Russia deteriorated after the poisoning of former Russian agent Sergei Skripal in Salisbury last year. Britain failed to renew the visa of Mr. Abramovich, owner of Chelsea football club, after the Skripal attack, in the highest-profile case of the UK spurning one of its Russian residents.
The number of Russians granted tier-one visas fell from 46 in 2017 to 29 last year, the lowest number since they were introduced in 2008.
Duncan Hames, director of policy at the anti-corruption charity Transparency International UK told the Financial Times, the proposals were “far more modest” than those first envisaged by ministers. He said a recommendation had not been included that would have set up an independent body to carry out checks on 3,000 individuals granted tier-one visas before 2015 when there were “little to no checks on the source of applicants’ wealth”. He added: “We are still in the dark about the legitimacy of £3bn entering the UK, most of which came from investors from high corruption-risk states.”
Home Office officials said the department was still “looking into” the idea of wealth audits, but they would not be included in the April rule changes. The department has already made an embarrassing U-turn after it was forced to reverse a complete suspension of the investor
What does that mean?
United Kingdom’s lethargy in checking the inflow of billions of dirty money clearly proves, they simply are looking for cash, similarly as those sex workers in the red-light areas. Such a tendency of the British policymakers would ultimately diminish the century-old image of Britain. Onwards, people in the world would only know the United Kingdom as a country without any morale.