UK suspending ‘golden visa’ program for wealthy Russians over corruption and money laundering concerns

After December 7, the British government will suspend granting of privileged visas to foreign investors, which allowed rich people to reside in the United Kingdom.

The Voice of America writes that, initially, the condition for obtaining a Level 1 visa was an investment of at least two million pounds sterling ($ 2.5 million) in the UK. This also gave such persons the right to bring family members to the country for an initial term of more than three years with the possibility of renewal, and subsequently receive permanent residence rights and citizenship.

After this system’s introduction in 2008, several hundred to over a thousand people per year received such visas, including many Russian businessmen, as well as wealthy individuals from the United Arab Emirates. Approximately half of the recipients were from China.

New rules for applicants will include a compulsory financial review by one of the audit firms registered in the UK.

The Theresa May’s government announced that it acts in response to the allegations that London has become the main center for money laundering, as well as due to national security reasons, after the poisoning of the former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, in March 2018.

London accused Kremlin of organizing a chemical attack with the use of a toxic substance Novichok.

On August 8, the U.S. State Department announced the implementation of new sanctions against Russia in connection with the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, the United Kingdom in early March. On August 9, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that Moscow was preparing "countermeasures".

  UK, Salisbury, Skripal case, Russia, Europe