Russians in the UK face another review of investor visas

After Theresa May announced the results of the investigation into the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, relations between Russia and Britain became more tense. Police investigation found that two Russian GRU agents, assigned by senior level officials of the Russian government, are responsible for the Salisbury attack.

Soon after the report was published, a source close to the Home Office confirmed that all Tier 1 Investor visas issued before 5th of April 2015 will be subject to review. In total, 3000 investor visas were issued between 2008 and 2015, with 700 given to Russian citizens. This is the third review during the last four years. Home Office did not comment on its findings, but confirmed that more restrictions might be imposed on the applicants (including those from Russia) and that the whole Tier 1 category requirements would be reviewed.  

In order to get an investor visa until November 2014, it was sufficient to invest £1 million in the UK economy. In most cases Home Office did not check or question the origin of funds. Now officials believe that some funds invested under the Tier 1 category might be related to the corruption, and some investors are well-known Russian oligarchs and Vladimir Putin’s allies.

After 6th November 2014 Home Office has tightened the rules for Investor visas. At the moment, successful applicant should invest at least £2 million, and all applicants must disclose the source of funds.

Earlier this year, the owner of the “Chelsea” football club, Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, withdrew his application for the extension of investor visa. He gave no official comments on this matter, but most likely Mr Abramovich was forced to make this step further to immigration policy stiffening as the consequence of Russia – Britain relationship deterioration.

Posted in English on Sep 10, 2018.