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Government advisors want auction for UK visas

Government advisors believe that UK visas should be auctioned off to the highest bidders, in order to ensure that UK taxpayers benefit from allowing wealthy migrants into the UK, reports the BBC.

The Home Secretary Theresa May is being asked to consider a ground-breaking scheme that would see visas for wealthy businessmen and entrepreneurs become the subject of an auction process to raise money for the Exchequer.

The recommendation has come from the Migratory Advisory Committee, which argues that at present UK citizens benefit little from the migration of wealthy individuals from abroad into the UK.

The Migratory Advisory Committee is recommending the UK doubles the current requirement that a minimum of £1m must be invested to secure a visa. In addition to increasing this requirement to £2m, they believe visas should then be put to auction, with a reserve price of £2.5m.

They recommend that any money raised by the scheme be placed into a fund for good causes, similar to the National Lottery.

The scheme would allow the successful bidders to fast-track their settlement in the UK in two years, instead of five. They also propose that those who successfully bid are permitted to have residency even if they spend just 90 days in the UK per year, at present the requirement is double this.

Under the current system a fast-track does exist, but it requires an investment of £5m for a three-year fast-track, or £10m for two years.

At present, high net-worth individuals often buy UK Government gilts (low-risk bonds) as their investment into the UK, which provides virtually no benefit to the UK taxpayer.

"The Brits get very little out of this at the moment. The migrants get a huge amount," Sir David Metcalfe, the chairman of the Migration Advisory Committee, told the BBC.