Paul Flude, Executive Director of GIIC, featured in The Sunday Times: Wealthy foreigners ditch UK for Malta

WEALTHY foreigners are abandoning a scheme that allows them to acquire a visa to live in Britain after George Osborne doubled the price to £2m.

There was a drop of about 80% in applications to the UK’s investor scheme this spring and summer after the chancellor raised the cost last November, according to the Global Investor Immigration Council (GIIC), which regulates those who offer visa advice.

The Treasury has been left out of pocket after wealthy foreigners, including Russians and Chinese, have started to use citizenship schemes in Malta and Cyprus that let them live anywhere in the European Economic Area, including Britain. An investment of €1.15m (£821,000) in Malta or €5m in Cyprus is required to get a passport, along with meeting other criteria.

However, Paul Flude, executive director of the GIIC, said the British programme offered “much lower risk for the investor” than other countries.

This article was originally published in The Sunday Times by Marie Woolf, and can be found here.