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Tier 1 Investor Visas: Review

Volume 725: debated on Monday 19 December 2022

This question has been raised on many occasions, including, funnily enough, by me in a former incarnation. I am pleased to say that we are approaching the moment when I will be able to satisfy not only the hon. Gentleman’s but my desires.

Sounds fascinating, Mr Speaker, but the Minister—whom I congratulate on his role—knows that this review was commissioned nearly five years ago, so it is pathetic not to be able to give us a direct answer on when it is coming. Contrary to today’s rhetoric on securing borders, can he confirm that this scheme quickly became a security risk to this country, with no fewer than 10 Russians who were approved under the scheme now being sanctioned by the UK, and that more than 6,000 others granted tier 1 visa status are now being reviewed as a security risk to this country?

The hon. Member makes some solid points about the dangers of the involvement of certain states—in this case, Russia—in the United Kingdom. He should also be aware that the visa scheme closed in February 2022, and the response to Russian aggression or Russian influence in this country has been pretty robust. Indeed, since 2019, we have increased spending on the National Crime Agency by 30% and £200 million extra has gone in. As he knows, there is a long way to go and that is exactly what I am going to be doing over the next few years.