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12 Dec 2012

Number Of UK Investor Visas Soars 78% In 2012

The UK recorded an increase of 78% in the number of specialist ‘investor visas´ issued to wealthy foreign investors to 419 in the year to June 2012, international law firm Pinsent Masons said last week.

The proportion of Russian investors was the largest in 2011-12, with individuals from Russia accounting for nearly a quarter of issued visas. They were followed by China, with 23% of issued visas, and the US, with 5%.

There were 121 successful applications for UK investor visas from Russia in the period, which is up from 65 in the previous year. Chinese investors made 95 successful applications for investor visas in the UK, compared with 39 in 2010-11, according to Pinsent Masons. The law firm also pointed to the rise in the number of successful visa applicants from Iran to 12, which is up from five previously.

Pinsent Masons´ business immigration team head, Simon Horsfield, said that the UK, and its capital in particular, continues to lure wealthy individuals from around the world. Prime property in London, where the political system is stable whilst the legal system is very transparent, is seen as a very attractive and liquid asset, he added. Prime real estate prices in the capital have remained stable or even risen in spite of the weakness in the global market, which is very attractive for wealthy individuals, according to Horsfield.

Investor visas, which were first issued in 2008, make it possible for high net worth foreign individuals with at least £1 million to invest, to stay in the UK on a long-term basis.

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