The government’s ‘golden visa’ scheme, which was meant to lure super-rich investors, has been targeted by people with suspected criminal links as well as 10 Russian oligarchs to gain a foothold in the UK, a review has disclosed.
Ten Russian businessmen who were sanctioned after the invasion of Ukraine had also used the visa scheme, she added.
But the government’s response, which emerged in a written ministerial statement, has been described as ‘totally inadequate’ and ‘a cover-up’ by opposition MPs.
Many had blamed the scheme for allowing Kremlin-backed oligarchs to enter UK public life, The Guardian reports.
The tier 1 visa route, whereby wealthy individuals could buy the right to live in the UK by investing in British-registered companies, was shut in February after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine amid fears that the system was being abused.
In a ministerial written statement, Braverman said the Home Office examined 6,312 tier 1 migrants and their adult dependants who obtained leave between the launch of the route on 30 June 2008, and the introduction on 6 April 2015 of a requirement to open a regulated UK bank account.
‘UK law enforcement have access to this data and are taking action as appropriate under their operational remits… A range of actions has and is being considered including, where appropriate, immigration action.
‘Whilst unable to comment specifically due to operational sensitivity of work – as an example of the range of actions we are taking I can say that we have already sanctioned 10 oligarchs who had previously used this route as part of our extensive response to Russian aggression in the Ukraine.’