There has been a 46% increase in the number of the global super-rich prepared to invest £2m for the privilege of living and working in the UK despite Theresa May’s ordering a crackdown on a wealthy visa scheme to root out “illicit and corrupt” money flowing into the UK.
More than 400 very wealthy overseas investors applied for tier 1 investor visas in the year to 31 March, a 46% increase on the number of applicants in the previous 12 months. The tier 1 investor scheme, widely described as the “golden visa”, allows visitors to stay in the UK for 40 months if they invest more than £2m in the UK economy.
Research by Collyer Bristow, a law firm that advises the global super-rich, found that 405 people applied for tier 1 visas in the year to 31 March, up from 278 in the previous 12 months. The number of applicants from Russian citizens increased by 46% to 52, Chinese interest rose by 26% to 123. The biggest rise in applications was from Turkey, where the number rose 85% to 24 following the government making it harder for Turkish citizens to apply for permanent residency.
James Badcock, a partner at Collyer Bristow, said: “Despite Brexit uncertainty, the UK is attractive to many HNWIs [high net worth individuals] as a place to live and invest in. For many overseas investors, the UK offers an international platform from which to grow their investments or businesses on an international stage. In addition to the financial and investment opportunities, the strong cultural appeal of the UK and London, as well as its private education system, attracts many overseas HNWIs.
There are more than 8,500 Russians listed as directors of UK companies, according to research by the accountancy firm Moore Stephens.