Latest visa controversy as study shows 13,700 Russian and Turkish directors in UK are at risk

As featured in The Guardian - 16.07.18
 
  • Tax revenue and job creation at stake if internationally-mobile entrepreneurs move base
The visa problems faced by Russian and Turkish directors in the UK are a cause for concern for UK plc, as a new study shows that 13,700 company directors in the UK are Russian or Turkish nationals*.

Many Russian and Turkish directors and entrepreneurs have had their UK visa status called into question in recent months. The UK Government announced in March that Turkish business people on the European Community Association Agreement (ECAA) visa would no longer be able to apply for permanent residency in the UK after four years, as has been the case since 1963.

The Government also announced in March that Russians who have obtained permanent residency in the UK through the £2 million Investor Visa programme would have their files reviewed. Prime Minister Theresa May said this formed part of a crackdown on “illicit and corrupt finance.”

Stuart Daltrey, Director at Moore Stephens, says that the longer uncertainty remains around these visas, the greater the negative effects will be on the UK’s economy and tax base.

Stuart explains that many individuals who hold ECAA and Investor Visas are internationally mobile entrepreneurs who can relocate to other jurisdictions relatively easily. As they originally moved to the UK to start or invest in businesses, this could result in the UK losing out on tax revenue and job creation if those businesses or their owner-managers move overseas.

Stuart Daltrey adds: “The Government must find a way past the visa impasse for Russian and Turkish business leaders. It’s important the economy doesn’t fall victim to diplomatic scuffles.

“Positioning the UK as an attractive location for internationally-mobile entrepreneurs to set up and invest in businesses is vital to driving economic growth and creating jobs, so there is little sense in making it more difficult for them to do that.

“High net worth and ultra-high net worth individuals have plenty of options in where to start and grow their businesses. If the UK places obstacles in their path, some of them will simply choose regional rivals instead.”

Over 13,700 Russian and Turkish directors in the UK



* Source: Moore Stephens analysis of company accounts of more than 4 million UK businesses.


 

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