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Golden visa scheme used by Russian oligarchs to live in UK will be closed as soon as this week

The golden visa scheme many Russian oligarchs use to live in the UK will be closed as soon as this week, Sky News understands.

A government source said the Tier 1 investor visa scheme will be closed by the home secretary.

Those who invest at least £2m in the UK are offered residency through the scheme.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this week said he was working on deterring Vladimir Putin’s allies from benefitting from the UK economy as Russia amasses troops on Ukraine’s border.

The source told Sky News: “There are security concerns about this route and we have been considering closing it for some time.

“The home secretary is very conscious of the effects of money-laundering and dirty money in the UK and that’s why she’s pushing to close it.

“Legitimate applicants will be able to apply to come to the UK through other routes.”

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The Tier 1 investor visa is dubbed the “golden visa” as it allows those with substantial amounts of money to gain a visa quickly and they are then free to work and study in the UK – or do neither.

Unlike other visa categories, there is no minimum amount of time visa holders have to spend in the UK to preserve their status, although it does lapse after a two-year absence.

It can also be extended indefinitely provided the investment is maintained, and also provides a direct route to UK permanent residence.

The majority of golden visa holders are from Russia and China.

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