The UK Home Office ruling, suspending the Tier 1 Investor Visa program, takes effect today. It allowed foreign investors who pay up to £10m to obtain a visa, with the right to apply for permanent residence in as little as two years. There are well-founded concerns that the program has been subject to abuse by dodgy oligarchs from Russia, who have used it for money laundering and organized crime activity. Chinese investors have also entered the program, and there are issues about their Source of Funds and whether corrupt payments funded their applications.
Citizenship by Investment programs in the EU have come under fire of late, as promoting money laundering. The European Commission has recommended that EU Member states that have such programs phase them out, and Transparency International has long warned that CBI, RBI, or similar programs promote corruption, and give criminal elements entry into the countries of the European Union. Five of the East Caribbean states with CBI programs have recently been blacklisted by the OECD.