British visas will be auctioned off to the highest bidders or ‘sold’ for one-off donations to hospitals and universities under new proposals announced by the Government’s official migration advisers.
The proposals, set to be published next month, will form part of a report from the Government’s Migration Advisory Committee.
The proposals say that donors willing to invest large sums in schools, universities or hospitals in the UK should be ‘let in’, allowing for the current investor visa route to become more economically advantageous.
Under the plans, investments of £1 million, £5 million or £10 million would be able to be made via gilts or government bonds in return for permission to apply for permanent residence over five, three or two years respectively. Applicants would then be able to seek UK citizenship.
Professor Sir David Metcalf, Chairman of the Migration Advisory Committee, said: “It may very well be that we should be auctioning some of these slots. There should be a proper discussion about it.”
He continued: “Equally, it may very well be that we should be letting people in if they endow a Cambridge college, a major teaching hospital or the London School of Economics with £10 million.”
Critics have raised concerns about the plans, highlighting that gilts can be sold on and would in effect mean that any investment would only be a loan. Many others have criticised the proposals for offering visas without any real long-term investment guarantees.
Since 2008 wealthy immigrants from Russia, China and America have topped the applications list for investor visas. The head of a group campaigning for lower immigration has publicly condemned the idea as a way of ‘selling’ British citizenship.
Sir Andrew Green, Chairman of MigrationWatch UK, said: “It would be absurd if this route was allowed to become a means of selling British passports. There must be a real and significant investment in real products and real jobs or this route will be seen as a side door to Britain for those who are wealthy.”