“Multimillionaire foreigners… will find it easier to make a home in the UK under government plans to relax immigration rules for the super-rich,” the FT reports.
Under coalition proposals, from April onwards wealthy immigrants will only have to spend 6 months in Britain to qualify for a visa, whilst the wait for permanent residency will be dramatically cut. This is clear discrimination on the grounds of wealth. As the debate over immigration continues, the government is moving to favor the wealthiest migrants and making it easier for the super-rich to enter Britain, the new tax haven of Europe.
The proposals will make it easier for the wealthy but will not impact on poorer immigrants:
Under the proposals, investors bringing in £10m would qualify for permanent residency within two years. Individuals with at least £5m would qualify in three and those with £1m would qualify after five years. At present, anyone on an investor visa has to stay at least five years before being eligible.
Although this will seem as an attempt to bolster the economy, those granted permanent residency would be free, of course, to take their money out of the UK. This could then potentially add to the major issue the UK has whereby billions of pounds of missed tax revenue is leaving the country via legal means, tax loopholes and other tactics. See UKuncut – the movement dedicated to raising awareness of the huge sums of money leaving the country.
These proposals come at a time where the government is slashing foreign student numbers as it attempts to cut migration levels per year. Universities are angered at this as many are reliant on income from foreign students.
As Richard Murphy from Liberal Conspiracy writes: “This is tawdry tax haven behaviour akin to the worst of the Crown Dependencies, Switzerland and other such grubby states. But it’s worse than that. It is blatant discrimination on the grounds of wealth. Article 2 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights says:
Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
“Here we very obviously have deliberate discrimination on the basis of property. This should be, and I hope will be, challenged under human rights legislation.
“Offensive as that discrimination is, the policy is also indicative of the deliberate policy this government is pursuing to turn the UK into a tax haven.”
At a time when the government should be clamping down on tax evasion, it appears as if the focus is on getting more income into Britain without actually tightening any of the rules on tax evasion. And as stated, the rich immigrants are free to take their money out of the UK if they are permanent residents, so what real results will this targeted discrimination bring?
- Osborne discriminates against the poor, to turn UK into a tax haven (liberalconspiracy.org)
- The Business podcast: Offshore havens, big business and the tax gap (guardian.co.uk)