The Tier 1 Investor visa program has been suspended for new applicants since 7 December, as the UK Home Office tries to make improvements to the scheme.
The suspension will lift once the changes, due in 2019, have been put in place.
Henley and Partners said in a statement: “We understand and share the concerns of the UK government. When taking part in an industry-wide consultation with the UK government regarding the program, we made it very clear that due diligence on Tier 1 Investor applicants should be improved and enhanced.
“Successful Tier 1 investors contribute significantly to the British economy. However, this is not their primary contribution, as substantial as it may be. These individuals generate significant value through employment creation, either directly or indirectly.
“They often establish or invest in businesses in the UK that create opportunity for local employees of all backgrounds. In addition, they and their businesses require the services of British-based firms, again creating opportunities at all levels of UK society.
The visa has been available to those with access to at least £2m ($2.5m, €2.24m) to invest in the UK. It’s open to those from outside the European Economic Area and Switzerland.
International Adviser reported that the European Commission is “extremely concerned” about member states offering citizenship to rich investors as they are seen as a potential “security threat”.
Henley and Partners added: “Money laundering is a global challenge, facilitated by the capital market mechanisms that permit it to exist.
“While we welcome any enhancements to the UK Tier 1 Investor Visa that will create more safety for the UK economy, we believe that the primary safeguards should be within the regulated international financial institutions that transfer capital across borders.”
The Home Office is looking to make changes which will require applicants to provide audits of their financial and business interests and will exclude government bonds as a qualifying investment.
Xia Wang, investment director of St Mary’s Private Wealth UK, said: “From a wealth management’s point of view, since the rule change in November 2014, we have not seen a major shift in risk taking activities in Tier 1 investor visa portfolios.
“UK gilts, albeit low yield, are still favoured by most investors. Majority of our clients come from China. Their actual risk profile is balanced towards adventurous. But when it comes down to Tier 1 investment portfolio, they are understandably more risk averse.
“Their key considerations are firstly safety of the principal and secondly the certainty of getting permanent residents at the end of five years.
“If the new measures from the Home Office apply a hard limit on how much investors can put in Gilts and the rest must be in some form of risky investments, then I suspect this will prolong the decision making of those investors with limited investment experience especially if they are facing several asset managers recommending completely different investment concepts.
“For sophisticated investors, I believe they will be more open to the idea of risky investments and they are more likely to be long term investors.”
Wang also believes that the new measures will call for “more bespoke and specialised investment managers”, and they will “attract more sophisticated investors”, who are looking to utilise long term investments within the sector.