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UK lures rich immigrants

The UK has announced new visa rules which would allow wealthy foreign-born investors and entrepreneurs to gain permanent residence (properly known as indefinite leave to remain) in the UK much more quickly than normal.

The new rules, which take effect in April 2011, would allow people who invest at least 5 million to settle (indefinite leave to remain) in Britain after three years. Those who invest at least 10 million will be able to settle after two years. Normally, people must live in the UK lawfully for five years to attain settlement.

Immigration minister Damian Green also announced a new visa which will allow an investor or entrepreneur with 50,000 of funding from a reputable organisation in a "high potential" business to come to the UK. The usual entrepreneur visa requires that an applicant already has 200,000 available to invest in the UK.

There will also be a new visitor visa for prospective entrepreneurs. This will allow you to enter the UK to secure funding, and make arrangements to start your business; You will then be able to apply for a full entrepreneur visa that will allow you to live in the UK on a long term basis.

Entrepreneurs in the UK will also be able to gain permanent residence more quickly by creating 10 jobs or by turning over 5 million pounds over a three-year period.

It remains to be seen how successful these changes in the immigration rules will be in practice. Only one thousand of these new visas will be available. Very few people in the World have GBP5 Million to invest anyway. Probably a number of businessmen will employ at least ten people in their new business in the UK in the first three years; These people may turn out to be the main beneficiaries of the changes.

Other Countries are also taking steps to encourage entrepreneur immigration. The US has announced legislation which if enacted will create a new "E-6" or "StartUp" visa, to attract foreign-born entrepreneurs to the US.