Brexit ‘may discourage wealthy migrants from coming to the UK’

13 Jul 2016 |
Financial analysts say that the UK’s vote to leave the European Union could lead to a fall in applications for UK visas among high net worth individuals.
Since the start of the new millennium, an estimated 125,000-plus wealthy investors from China, the Middle East and Russia have headed for the UK. The country has been the most popular in the EU for attracting rich migrants, research by New World Wealth said.
However, uncertainty leading up to the Brexit vote in June has already started to show in figures for 2015, when the UK only attracted 182 overseas migrants investing in the country in return for a visa. The 2014 figure stood at 1,172.
Analysts also believe the cost of receiving a UK visa through the investment route is seen as expensive compared to other countries because a minimum investment of £2 million is required. Even after that, it will still take seven to eight years for immigrant investors to obtain British citizenship.
Other countries within the EU require much smaller investments and can offer EU citizenship, allowing free movement around member states, in as little as 90 days.
Now the UK has voted to quit the EU, its attractiveness is likely to fall further, according to Armand Arton of Arton Capital, a US firm advising wealthy migrants.
He told CNN that a combination of “political uncertainty, the economic downturn and the value of the pound”, will all play a role in persuading high worth individuals to seek visas from other countries.
A key issue in the UK’s lessening pull is likely to be the uncertainty of whether investor migrants will still be able to move freely around European countries after the formal parting of the ways.
Indeed, Mr Arton believes the political instability caused by the Brexit vote may even encourage more investors to look at jurisdictions in places like the Caribbean instead of Europe.