UK Home Secretary ‘Madam’ Theresa May launches a private club providing special services for the especially well-endowed.
An invitation-only fast-track visa service into Britain aimed at “top business executives” and branded as the “Great Club” is to be launched by the home secretary, Theresa May, in the new year.
A 12-month pilot scheme testing the new premium ‘club class’ visa service is to be run aimed at “100 global business leaders” who have strong links to Britain and who will be offered a free ‘bespoke support’ from the UK visa service.
The Home Office say they will be provided with a personal account manager to ensure that “their journey through the visa and immigration service is swift and smooth”. The account manager will also be able to arrange visa services “tailored to each individual’s needs at no extra cost” during the pilot.
The Home Office said that the new premium visa service was being introduced as part of the government’s economic growth plan to attract the “brightest and best to work, do business and invest in the UK”.
At present those who apply for a tier one visa which includes entrepreneurs or for an extension from within Britain can access a premium service if they apply in person for £1,920. A Home Office spokesman said that business leaders will initially be offered “free membership” of the club which promises an “exceptional” service for those who apply from outside Europe. This could include same-day processing and a mobile to your office service at standard visa fees. “We will assess the potential for charging during the course of the pilot and make our longer-term plans public in due course,” said a spokesperson.
The Home Office failed to respond to a fictitious inquiry from this reporter asking whether improving the visa service for all wouldn’t be a better course of action and whether the new service was limited to men with AmEx cards.