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Highly Wealthy Immigrants Increasingly Apply for UK Investor Visas

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The UK is experiencing a considerable rise in the number of investor visa applications for the super-rich.

Millionaire and billionaire immigrants are applying as a part of a new special visa program.

U.K.’s Success With Ultra-Wealthy Immigrants

The increase in investment visas by the ultra-rich is the result of a special programme Great Britain implemented last year. In the first 12 months, the number of rich immigrants applying through the programme brought total numbers of millionaire and billionaire applications up by 46 percent.

Throughout the year that ended with the close of March, there were 405 high and ultra-high net worth individual applications for the Tier 1 investor visa in the U.K. The visa allows applicants to remain within Great Britain for as long as three years. That said, in order to be eligible to apply, the individual must have a minimum of £2 million to invest in the United Kingdom.

Fast Tracking to Citizenship

Investor visas are frequently used as a step in a fast-tracking process making it possible for the extremely rich among foreign nationals to obtain British citizenship. Many of the applicants are from countries in which relations with the West are difficult. This encourages them to want to apply for U.K. residency in order to protect their wealth.

Among the applicants throughout the first 12 months of the program, 123 were from China. This was an increase of 98 over the prior year’s figure. Another 52 were from Russia, which rose from having been 34. Twenty four applicants were from Turkey, whereas there had been 13 Turkish applicants the year before.

United States Losing Appeal

At the same time that these wealthy investors are looking to the U.K., they appear to be less interested in the United States. As Donald Trump and his administration seem determined to either changer or eliminate the EB-5 investor program – the country’s equivalent to Tier 1 – ultra-wealthy immigrant investors are looking for opportunities with greater potential stability.

Even though the United Kingdom comes with the uncertainty surrounding Brexit which effect most immigrants, it remains appealing to many high net worth (HNW) investors as a place for living and investing.

“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 high net worths,” said Collyer Bristow law firm partner, James Badcock.

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Alvexo on the matter.