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Concerns Over “Dirty Money” Fuels Historical Tier 1 (Investor) Visa Review

Immigration law specialists, Optimus Law, has learned that “security concerns” lie behind the UK government’s decision to review all Tier 1 (Investor) visas which were granted before reforms were made in 2015 and 2019 in an effort to crack down on so-called “dirty money”.

The review will assess all Tier 1 (Investor) visas granted before 5 April 2015. It is understood that there were 6,312 visas approved between the start of the scheme in June 2008 and April 2015.

The visas, which are also labelled “Golden Visas” have been issued to many groups of people, among them oligarchs and wealthy overseas residents. Concerns over threats to national security have prompted the review with concerns over an alleged lack of rigorous checking on the source of applicants’ wealth.

A Home Office spokesperson is reported as saying: “We reformed the Tier 1 visa route in 2015 and in 2019 to crack down on dirty money and we have not ruled out making further changes if necessary.

“These changes include requiring banks to do extra due diligence checks prior to opening accounts and requiring applicants to provide evidence of the source of their funds.

“As part of our work to prevent this route from corruption we are reviewing all Tier 1 investor visas granted before these reforms were made and will report on our findings in due course.”

Current legislation as described on the UK government’s website states that applicants must have at least £2 million in investment funds to apply. People can come to the UK with a Tier 1 (Investor) visa for a maximum of three years and four months, although applications can be made to extend it for another two years.

The visas were introduced by Labour in in 2008 response to the financial crisis, granting British residency in exchange for seven-figure investments.

Holders can apply to settle after two years if they invest £10 million, can apply to settle after three years if they invest £5 million and apply to settle after five years if they invest £2 million.

Applicants must pay £1,623 to apply for a Tier 1 (Investor) visa. The fee is the same if applicants are extending or switching visas, or if applying as a family member.

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