Sanctus – Secretary for Homeland Security, Nicola Allman, today announced in the House of Deputies that the government would be winding down the so-called “Golden Visa” scheme by the end of 2023. The scheme, officially called the Sanctarian Investors Immigration Pathway, allowed individuals who invested a minimum of 10 million pounds into Sanctarian businesses over a period of three years to apply for a visa, even if they did not meet other criteria.
The Pathway was very popular with foreign entrepreneurs who wanted to establish a headquarters in Sanctaria in order to better take advantage of the 500 million strong market that exists here. Since its establishment in 2005, the Department of Homeland Security has confirmed approximately 45,000 people have benefited from the scheme, representing almost 450 billion pounds of investment in the Sanctarian economy.
Critics of the scheme have claimed that the process was flawed, with what constituted investment to be entirely subjective and generally up to the deciding officer in the Sanctarian Immigration Service. Since the program’s establishment, there have been examples with donations to Sanctarian charities met the threshold for investment, while in other instances it has been claimed deciding officers took repayment of debts to Sanctarian banks to be sufficient.
Citing “efforts to weed out bad faith actors” as a reason to close the Golden Visas scheme, Secretary Allman said that the government would continue working with business owners and investment funds around the world to maintain Sanctaria as an attractive place to set up a business, and that Business Secretary Jeff Whitehouse would bring new proposals to the House in due course.
It is not believed by industry experts that the ending of the Pathway will have an adverse effect on investment in Sanctaria. “Sanctaria has many bilateral visa programmes with countries all around the IDU, that are still very flexible to workers and investors. This scheme targeted the 1% of investors who not only wanted to expand their business in Sanctaria, but also build a new life here”, Sanctus Chamber of Commerce President Matthew Hood explained. “For the vast majority of individuals, they would never have qualified for the scheme anyway, and it’ll have no difference to their business plans”.
OLIVIA SIMMONS, Business Correspondent