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Wealthy investors to face stricter rules to obtain a “golden visa” in the U.K.

The new rules comes amid a crackdown on money laundering in the country
March 10, 2019 10:00AM

London (Credit: iStock, Pixabay)

Wealthy investors from Russia and China may face a tougher time gaining “golden visas” in Britain amid a new crackdown on money laundering.

New rules in April will require visa applicants to show they have had control of more than 2 million pounds for at least two years rather than 90 days in order to gain the visa, according to the Financial Times.

In the past, the tier-one “investor visa” was referred to as the “golden visa” for allowing wealthy investors, notably from China and Russia, to easily settle in Britain in exchange for an investment.

Changes began last year after former Russian agent Sergei Skripal was poisoned in Salisbury, U.K. Following the attack, Britain did not renew the visa of Roman Abramovich, the owner of Chelsea Football Club. The number of Russians granted tier-one visas fell from 46 in 2017 to 29 last year, according to the Times.

Some want the new rules to go even further. Duncan Hames, director of policy with the anti-corruption charity Transparency International UK, proposed setting up a group to look into 3,000 individuals granted tier-one visas before 2015 by conducting wealth audits to thwart money laundering. His proposal is not included in the incoming rules. [FT] — Keith Larsen