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In 2008, the UK introduced its (current) golden visa programme, officially known as the ‘Tier 1 (Investor)’ route, replacing the previous ‘Investor Immigrant’ category, firstly introduced in 1994. Despite the fact that golden visa programmes are not as controversial as golden passport programmes, which, at the moment, are operative in a handful of countries, the UK programme has been criticised mainly for its lack of transparency, for its inability to return any benefits to UK residents, and for creating the danger of transforming the UK into a safe haven for money launderers. These criticisms have, in fact, formed the main rationale behind the amendments effected to the programme
in recent years, and (possibly) for the proposals for the abolition of this programme, which have been very recently laid on the table. The aim of this article is to trace the development of the UK’s (current) golden visa programme, from the moment of its inception in June 2008 to today. An assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of this programme is also offered, as well as a consideration of the possibilities for its development (or abolition) in the future.
Dr Alina Tryfonidou is Associate Professor in EU Law, School of Law, University of Reading.