Selling dreams: 38 Indian millionaires have moved to UK since 2008
These millionaires have moved to Britain under a visa targeted at 'high net worth individuals' who can invest over £1 million, £5 million or £10 million that ensures permanent residence in five, three or two years respectively, and eventual citizenship.world Updated: Jan 28, 2014 04:16 IST
As many as 38 Indian millionaires have moved to Britain since 2008 under a visa targeted at ‘high net worth individuals’ who can invest over £1 million, £5 million or £10 million that ensures permanent residence in five, three or two years respectively, and eventual citizenship.
The Investors category of Tier I visa of the points-based system launched in 2008 has been mainly used by Chinese and Russian millionaires, but Home Office statistics reveal that until June 2013, 38 Indians had availed of the Investors visa by investing in gilts and companies.
Britain continues to be an attractive destination and a safe haven for global millionaires due to historical links and benefits of a stable, liquid economy, political stability and being largely free from government interference in private individual assets.
Visas issued to Indians in the Investors category has shown a steady increase, but this route is likely to be dropped or reformulated in the near future after a key committee of the Home Office presents its report on its performance and utility on 7 February.
The influential Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has been examining whether the current investment thresholds (£1 million, £5 million and £10 million) are "appropriate to deliver significant benefits to Britain."
David Metcalf, professor at the London School of Eonomics (LSE) and chairman of MAC, told the Home Office Committee: "Most of the people buy gilts…Sometimes they borrow the money and then they keep the gilts for five years. They get their indefinite leave to remain, and then they sell them."
He added: "Two LSE colleagues suggested that what is happening is we are giving indefinite leave to remain after five years and you can get citizenship after that. We are, in inverted commas, selling that rather cheaply, because it is only a loan."
Instead, Metcalf suggested that following the example of countries such as Malta, Britain could auction the visas to wealthy foreigners: "We should not just rule it out that we should auction it. There should be a proper discussion about. Equally it may very well be that we should be letting people in if they endow Cambridge, LSE, with £10 million."
Matcalf’s committee is expected to suggest that instead of the Investors visa, wealthy foreigners seeking permanent residency and eventual citizenship could donate £10 million (Rs 100 crore approx.) to top institutions such as the University of Cambridge, LSE or hospitals.
The MAC’s recommendations are usually accepted and implemented by the Home Office. It is a non-statutory, non-time-limited, non-departmental public body, sponsored by the UK Border Agency of the Home Office.
Indian millionaires using Investors Visa
2013: 8 (until June)
(Source: Home Office)