Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Millionaire investors to get fast-track settlement in UK

London: The British Conservative party’s pro-rich bias appears intact if its latest immigration policy is any indication.

Under a fast track scheme, any foreigner willing to park 5 million pounds in a British bank or building society will be granted leave of indefinite stay in the UK. An investor who keeps 10 million pounds will secure this right even faster — in two years.

The residency right will come after an entrepreneur visa is granted.

“The UK remains open for business and we want those who have the most to offer to come and settle here,” said Whitehall’s Immigration Minister Damian Green while announcing the policy at a London Stock Exchange event on Wednesday.

“Entrepreneurs and investors can play a major part in our economic recovery,” he said.

Rules for entrepreneurs are also to be tweaked — if they either create 10 full-time jobs or generate an annual turnover of 10 million pounds in a UK business, they will be entitled to settlement within three years.

Alex Ruffel, a lawyer who specialises in immigration matters, was quoted as forecasting that the number of super-rich entrepreneurs and investors pitching their tents in the UK per annum would double from last year’s figure of 275.

A person maintaining a balance of 1 million pounds in a British bank would also benefit by being guaranteed indefinite stay after five years without having to pass an otherwise mandatory English language test.

The policy towards the wealthy contrasts sharply with the British government’s plan to do away with the automatic right to settle hitherto enjoyed by students and temporary residents after a five year stay in this country.

Indeed, definitive proposals to impose deep cuts in the number of overseas students coming to Britain so as to adhere to the Conservative party’s election manifesto promise of containing net migration to below 100,000 a year are expected to be announced soon.

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