Huge rise in visas for the wealthy

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The number of wealthy foreign nationals granted investor visas to stay in the UK has risen six-fold since they were introduced three years ago. In 2011, 320 visas were issued to individuals with £1m in capital, according to the commercial law firm McGrigors.

The biggest growth is among applicants from Russia and former Soviet states, who account for a third of investment visas, which are seen as a fast track to UK citizenship. Yuri Botiuk, a partner at McGrigors, said that Russian investors continued to see Britain as a place of stability in which to invest their cash.

Fifteen per cent of investment visas are now allocated to Chinese citizens who make up the second main national group.