City law firm Kingsley Napley has criticised the UK government's review of historic golden visas given to oligarchs and the super rich between 2008 and 2015, for money laundering and security risk reasons.
Citing a recent report in The Times which suggested this review has been significantly more comprehensive than previous changes and has taken more than three years, Kingsley Napley said the delay was "unfortunate and it is unclear how the report will be used".
This was especially so as most of its subjects were almost certainly going to now hold indefinite leave to remain and in many cases, British Citizenship.
Applicants have always had to comply with UK financial institutions’ AML and on-boarding requirements in order to make their investments and in our experience, this is an increasingly rigorous process which applicants are not always able to satisfy.”
Katie Newbury, immigration partner, said: "As with anything, the reality of the Tier 1 Investor visa has always been far more nuanced than the headline grabbing investigations have suggested.
Applicants have always had to comply with UK financial institutions' AML and on-boarding requirements in order to make their investments and in our experience, this is an increasingly rigorous process which applicants are not always able to satisfy."
She added that the application process these days requires individuals to open an account and satisfy these requirements before their visa is issued, to evidence their funds going back two years (or to evidence the source) and to provide criminal record checks for any country they have spent 12 months (cumulatively or consecutively) in the last ten years.
"An additional ‘check' could be added in the form of requiring a copy of the compliance checks from the FCA regulated institution themselves and this is something we understand has been on the radar for a long time."
She further said: "It is of course important that the visa process is robust. As the number of visa options these days is relatively narrow (and all EU citizens must now squeeze themselves into one of these categories should they wish to come to the UK), it is really important that this visa route, which does represent an important option for High Net Worth individuals and their families, has the necessary safeguards in place to ensure it can continue to offer those with legitimate funds the opportunity to invest in the UK."