UK visas should be auctioned, migration advisers say

The right to settle in Britain should be auctioned off to wealthy foreign investors, government advisers say.


At present migrants can gain entry by investing £1m or more in the UK.

But the Migration Advisory Committee says ordinary British citizens gain little from this.

It recommends doubling the minimum investment to £2m and auctioning slots with a reserve price of £2.5m – with any surplus going to good causes in a scheme similar to the National Lottery.

The changes recommended in the committee’s report would apply to settlement rights only and not citizenship.

They expect about 100 visas a year to be auctioned with the “winners” getting accelerated settlement in the UK – after two years rather than five, as it is with other investment routes.

The Migration Advisory Committee suggests the auction could replace the “premium” routes for those who invest more than £5m.

Sir David Metcalfe, chairman of the committee, said he did not want to see British passports being sold off, but said at the moment many wealthy foreigners are buying gilts – so are effectively loaning the government money, rather than investing in the UK.

Sir David said: “The Brits get very little out of this at the moment, The migrants get a huge amount.”

He said that under the proposed scheme, thanks to the good causes fund, British people would get something out of it, adding: “I don’t find it demeaning (to the UK) at all.”

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