With the Russian economy suffering from domestic and foreign like the crumbling ruble and geopolitical tensions and continuation of sanctions, more and more high net-worth Russian citizens are relying on investment immigration to gain permanent residence in the United Kingdom.
The first nine months of 2014 saw 162 Russian citizens obtaining the Investor visa offered by the UK to wealthy individuals committing to invest in the country. The first three quarters of 2013 saw 96 visas being issued to Russian applicants. In fact, the number of visas issued in the first nine months of 20141 has already exceeded the total visas issued to Russian applicants in the preceding year.
The Investor Visa requires applicants to pump in not less than £1 million or 1.6 million in UK bonds, UK shares, or as loan capital to companies in the country. In November 2014, the minimum investment limit was raised to £2 million or $3.1 million. Successful applicants are granted the right to reside in the UK along with the option of seeking permanent residency after a period of five years.
Immigration experts attribute the rise in Russian demand to the issues and problems affecting the Russian economy. The drastic decrease in price of oil is expected to result in a 5% fall in the country’s GDP. The economy has already been hurt badly by sanctions imposed by the West in response to Russia’s role in the recent Ukraine imbroglio. To top it all, the ruble has witnessed a 50% fall in its value, which has hurt the value of savings and all ruble-denominated assets owned by Russians.
The economic crisis has hurt super-wealthy citizens particularly hard. Super-rich Russians have lost more than $50 billion in 2014 due to the troubles ailing the Russian economy. Not surprisingly, there has been an increase in inquiries about investment immigration from Russian applicants in 2014. There has also been a steady rise in high-value real estate deals in London involving Russians.
The UK investor visa has always enjoyed high demand from wealthy individuals from all over the world. Residence permits granted to Chinese applicants have increased by more than 100% in the first three quarters of 2014 as compared to the previous year.