Visa issues for 13,700 Russian and Turkish company directors could be a cause for concern for UK corporations, according to accountancy firm Moore Stephens.
In recent months, many Russian and Turkish directors and entrepreneurs have had their UK visa status questioned. 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 they have been able to since 1963.
The Government also stated in March that Russians who have obtained permanent residency in the UK through the £2 million Investor Visa programme would have their files reviewed, as part of a crackdown on “illicit and corrupt finance”, according to Prime Minister Theresa May.
Many of those who hold ECAA and investor visas are internationally mobile entrepreneurs who can relocate relatively easily. Originally, they moved to the UK to start or invest in businesses, and so these changes could result in the UK losing tax revenue and job opportunities if those businesses or their owner-managers move overseas.
Stuart Daltrey, director at Moore Stephens, suggests that the longer uncertainty remains around these visas, the greater the negative effects will be on the UK’s economy and tax base. He said: “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.”
UK-based Moore Stephens is an independent accounting and consulting network, comprising over 2,000 partners and staff in 37 locations.
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