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Chinese Investors lead the market for UK’s ‘Golden Visa’

Updated: Jun 12, 2018

In recent years we have seen the formation of a new industry in the form of the Residency/Citizenship by Investment schemes. These schemes allow wealthy investors to reap the benefits of either a second citizenship or residency permit through a so-called ‘Golden Visa’.

In the UK investors can be granted a 3-year residency permit (known as an investor visa) in exchange for an investment of £2 million or more in UK government bonds, share capital and other assets, excluding property. At the end of the initial residency period, a further investment can be made to settle permanently within the British Isles.

This scheme seems to be particularly enticing for Chinese investors. According to figures reported by the Financial Times on April 3rd, citing LJ Partnership data, Chinese investors (excluding those from Hong Kong and Macau) accounted for 116 of the 355 investor visas granted by the UK government in 2017, showing a staggering rise of 56% on the previous year. This outstrips investors of other nations including Russians, the next biggest recipients of the investor visa, by 250%.

Furthermore, this number would be further strengthened if we were to include investors from Hong Kong and Macau: 146 of these visas were awarded to people from the greater China area, representing an 82.5% rise from 2016.

So why are Chinese investors still investing so eagerly in the scheme? Should the current political climate involving Brexit not have hindered investment rather than bolstered it?

Not according to Dr. Yu Jie, head of China Foresight at the LSE (London School of Economics), who said that the UK is still seen by many Chinese to be among the safest places in the world to invest their money, despite concerns over Brexit. She added that “The political certainty, institutional constraints and the fundamental rule of law are key drivers for Chinese investors parking their money.”

A further explanation could be that according to many Chinese investors Brexit may not necessarily be a bad thing for the UK. A view shared by Xu Weiping, chairman of Advanced Business Park, who said: “Brexit will mean that the UK needs China more as a trade partner.”

Hence, due to such thoughts, maybe it's not so surprising that so many Chinese investors are flocking to the UK for their chance to obtain a golden visa.

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