British “investor visa” has lost appeal

Moscow. December 9. The number of visa applications filed by foreign millionaires to obtain residency in the UK, this year declined by 83%, says The Guardian.

For three quarters of 2014, the documents for such visa submitted 780 people, in January-September this year – just 136. The main reason for this was last year’s increase in the minimum amount necessary to obtain an “investor visa”, up to 2 million pounds from 1 million pounds, the article notes.

Last year was the most fruitful for the issuance of such visas received 1,290.

A significant reduction in the number of applicants is especially evident among investors from China and Russia. So, in October-December 2014 a residence permit in the UK wanted to get a 65 Russian millionaires, and in the first half their was only 20 people.

A similar trend is observed now and in the London property market, where immigrants from Russia and Asia has bought up nearly a third of the homes in the most prestigious areas of the British capital, according to BBC.

The British Ministry of the interior chose not to disclose the official reasons for the increase in the minimum investment to 2 million pounds. However, as reported by the Guardian, a source in the Foreign Ministry, this is mainly due to the desire to moderate growth in property prices in London, associated with the influx of millions of investment from abroad.

In addition to the new financial requirements an important role in the decline of interest in “investor visa” was played by the decline in the economies of China and Russia, as well as the depreciation of their national currencies. In addition, from September 2015, the UK government has tightened the screening of applicants for possible criminal history.

Meanwhile, some European countries, Malta, for example, offers wealthy foreigners the opportunity to acquire a residence permit and a passport much less painful way, in competition with the UK, say the lawyers who specialize in the consultations on the issuance of investor visas.

Since in 2008 the UK introduced visas for investors, statements it filed 3340 people. Of these, over one-third are residents of China (1220 people), one fifth of Russians (705), followed by the Americans (205) and the citizens of the United Arab Emirates (170).

Almost 91% of applications were satisfied, 8% were refused and the remaining 1% were those who changed their minds, or have not had time to draw up the documents.

“Investor visas” allow the citizens of States outside the European Union the possibility to quickly obtain a residence permit and citizenship of the country by investing in the British economy a certain amount of funds. Since November of last year, the UK has tightened rules for issuing visas for the first time in 20 years, doubling the minimum required amount (2 million pounds), as well as introducing restrictions on the investment structure. The old rules allowed the investment of 25% of the total investment in real estate, however the new rules do not permit.

According to Knight Frank, during the years 2004-2013 in the UK got over 114 thousand millionaires from other countries, which is the highest rate among all States.