Financial crime: UK announces new rule for ‘golden’ visas after backtracking
14 Mar 2019

After suddenly withdrawing an announcement in December that it would suspend ‘golden’ visas, the United Kingdom has now announced a change to the application process for the immigration rules which have been strongly criticised for being a gateway for money launderers to settle in the country.

Under the changes announced on 7 March, applicants of the Tier 1 (Investor) route will have to prove that they have had control of the required £2 million for at least two years, rather than 90 days, or provide evidence of the source of those funds.

“The reformed route will better protect the UK from illegally obtained funds, whilst ensuring that genuine investors have access to a viable visa route,” the Home Office said in a statement announcing a raft of changes to other immigration rules.

The March announcement comes after the Home Office issued a statement in December 2018, saying: “The Home Office has suspended the Tier 1 (Investor) route as it prepares for sweeping reforms in 2019, as part of its ongoing efforts to tackle serious organised crime and money laundering,” as reported in the Guardian.

But five days later, it issued another statement saying the promised change had not been implemented, the Guardian said, quoting a Home Office spokesman saying: “The Tier 1 (Investor) visa is not currently suspended, however we remain committed to reforming the route. A further announcement will be made in due course.”

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