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Transparency International welcomes suspension of “open to abuse” visa system

6th December 2018, London – Transparency International UK is urging the UK Government to take urgent action on individuals found to have invested suspicious wealth into the UK via the Tier 1 investor visa scheme, following today’s welcome announcement that the scheme has been suspended.

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.

Duncan Hames, Director of Policy at Transparency International UK, said:

“Property and other high-end sectors are increasingly accused of allowing dirty money into the UK but it’s astonishing to think that the UK’s own visa scheme can be used to launder corrupt money into the UK. Once obtained ‘Golden’ visas can also open the door to channel much larger sums of stolen cash into our financial system.”

“We welcome the decision by the Government today to halt the Tier 1 investor scheme – and now call for clarification on 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***

Contact:
Dominic Kavakeb
Dominic.kavakeb@transparency.org.uk
020 3096 7695
075 4596 5302

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Read 108 times Last modified on Friday, 7 December 2018 13:59

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