Friday, March 28, 2014

Passports for sale? (in UK?)

Immigration policy is always a hot political issue in countries that face lots of demand, and one question is whether rich immigrants should be favored.  Lately this has been in the British press, not only because Malta and Bulgaria, members of the European Union, may be selling passports, but because there are proposals that Britain do so...

British passports for sale? Government's migration advisers say rich foreigners should be let in if they hand over money 
Migration Advisory Committee reveals controversial plan to MPs
Visas could be sold at auction or given to donors to universities
Proposal will be presented to the Home Office next month

 "Foreign millionaires will be able to ‘buy’ visas to live in Britain under radical plans drawn up by government advisers.
Migration Advisory Committee suggests people who give money to schools, universities or hospitals should be ‘let in’ to the UK.
It also proposes holding auctions for visas to be sold to the highest overseas bidder, but MPs warn the plan would bring ‘no benefit to the citizens of this country’.
The plan is likely to prove highly controversial, because the Home Office has previously opposed plans by other EU countries to effectively sell citizenship which would give them the right to settle in Britain.
Professor Sir David Metcalf, chairman of the MAC, told MPs that Britain had to examine new ways to attract wealthy investors to the country.
He said: ‘It may very well be that we should be auctioning some of these slots/
‘There should be proper discussion about it. Equally it may very well be that we should be letting people in if they endow a Cambridge college, a major teaching hospital or the London School of Economics with £10 million.’
The committee has been asked to examine the issue by Home Secretary Theresa May, and is expected to submit a report in February."

Passports for profit: British company to make 'disgusting amounts of money' from controversial EU passport sale

"A British company has been accused of making “disgusting amounts of money” from a controversial scheme by Malta to sell European Union passports to tycoons and celebrities ranging from a former Formula One world champion to a Chinese billionaire.

"Henley & Partners, a private company registered in Jersey which specialises in “citizenship solutions”, stands to make at least €60m (£49m) from its role as the designer and principal contractor for the scheme, which will sell passports for €1.15m a piece.

"The programme, which is due to begin processing its first applicants next month and will provide a right to reside anywhere in the EU, including Britain, has attracted sharp criticism both within the Mediterranean island and abroad.

"David Hanson, the shadow immigration minister, told The Independent he had “significant concerns” about the scheme because it offered a right to live in any EU country although the legality of the practice was questionable.

The EU Justice Commissioner, Viviane Reding, has sharply criticised the scheme, adding: “Citizenship must not be up for sale.”


EU citizenship for sale to non-Europeans in Bulgaria for as little as £150,000
Undercover Telegraph reporters posing as representatives of an Indian businessman were told that a Bulgarian passport could be legally obtained without the need to live or work in Bulgaria

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