Will COVID-19 challenge our investment values?


There isn't an investor programme in the world which has been able to escape criticism - the prospect of selling nationality to those with spare cash is a controversial topic. Yet it cannot be denied that such a programme, if managed correctly, could generate much needed revenue for countries. 

The United Kingdom set the investment threshold for Tier 1 (Investors) at £2 million. We also require due diligence to be conducted on the source of these funds. These 'DD' requirements reflect our country's values when it comes to encouraging clean, legitimate investment into the United Kingdom. 

However, COVID-19 could be a test of those investment values. We are already seeing investment thresholds being slashed in Caribbean countries. For example, St Kitts and Nevis has reduced its investment threshold by 23% (to $150,000) in a bid to encourage investment into the country and boost those industries which have been hit by COVID-19. 

With the end of the transition period on the horizon and the exact fallout of COVID-19 still unknown, could the United Kingdom alter the Tier 1 (Investor) Scheme in order to make investment easier and more attractive? 

Will we see reduced investment options? 

Perhaps reduced DD for reduced investments or certain nationalities?

Time will tell.

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Recently, the EU commission criticised Bulgaria, Cyprus and Malta for their citizenship by investment schemes and said they should phase out their programmes. This followed a March 2019 recommendation from the European Parliament which urged EU countries to end any golden visas or passport schemes. The UK’s Tier 1 Investor Visa, which was created in 2008 to tackle the financial crisis, has also come under criticism for inadequate ‘dirty money’ checks. This led to the suspension of the Tier 1 Investor programme for 24 hours in December 2018. But Torr added: “With covid-19 hitting the economy and then the end of the implementation period just six months away, could we see a silent and delicate reversal of some of those checks in order to encourage more foreign investment to kick start a battered economy?”
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