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Golden Visa U-turn: All Government Departments must back dirty money fight

11th December 2018, London – Media reports are quoting a Home Office spokesperson that the Tier 1 Investor Visa Scheme is not suspended – despite announcing last week that it would be. Those reports have also claimed that the U-turn is a result of “opposition from other government departments.”

This is of deep concern to Transparency International UK, as it signals a conflicted approach regarding the Government’s investor visa policy.

Last Thursday we welcomed the announcement to reform the system and called on the UK Government to offer a timetable for a thorough review of the source of wealth of individuals already granted such visas.

Rachel Davies Teka, Head of Advocacy at Transparency International UK, said:

“It is vital that Government has a joined up approach to fighting corruption with departments working together in unison. We are concerned to hear conflicting messages on government action on this important issue over the past week.”

“We call on the Government to urgently clarify its policy towards the Tier 1 Visa Scheme, as well as set a timetable for when and how the promised review of previous recipients will be carried out. Any individuals found by this review to have brought suspicious money into the UK should be subject to police investigation into the provenance of all their UK assets.”

“Any new investor visa system must be water-tight, and subject to independent checks to ensure it does not become a red carpet for those who seek to use the UK as a safe haven for their ill-gotten gains.” 

***ENDS***

Background

In 2015 we identified that over 3,000 individuals, and their families, had been granted British “golden” visas with little to no checks done on the origin of the money invested to secure the visa – during a “blind faith period”. The vast majority of these being individuals from Russia and China – high corruption risk states. The Government has publicly committed to reviewing the investments of all those who were granted such visas during the blind faith period.

The use of Tier 1 investor visas were highlighted in the ongoing investigation surrounding the UK’s first ever Unexplained Wealth Orders. The review of all those granted Tier 1 visas must be done thoroughly, independently and an immediate timeframe should be set out. Likewise any new Tier 1 programme must be subject to checks by those with no financial interest in the promotion of such schemes.

Contact:
Dominic Kavakeb
020 3096 7695
079 6456 0340
Dominic.kavakeb@transparency.org.uk

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Read 155 times Last modified on Tuesday, 11 December 2018 17:12

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