23 May 2018
Russian billionaire businessman Roman Abramovich’s Tier 1 Investor visa extension application is still under scrutiny despite him previously satisfying the Home Office he was eligible. Last week, the Financial Times reported that Abramovich had returned to Russia after his Investor visa expired and his current application is “taking longer than usual” to be processed.
Whilst little is known about the reasoning behind the delay, many have speculated that the Home Office is looking into the source of his investment funds.
In March, the UK government responded to Russia’s suspected involvement in the nerve agent attack in Salisbury by announcing that it would be conducting a review of visas issued to wealthy foreign nationals. This has in turn led to initial investor visa applications and extension applications being scrutinised more carefully.
Reports suggest Abramovich has held the Investor visa for many years but one could question why he hasn’t applied for settlement yet or why he didn’t pursue the accelerated route to settlement (where you invest £5m or £10m).
Normally, the Home Office takes up to 8 weeks to process Investor visa applications or priority processing services are available. Sometimes, applications take longer to consider especially if the applicant hasn’t submitted the requisite documents, they have adverse criminal history or there is a likelihood that their application could be refused based on ‘general grounds for refusal’.