Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

Publishing firms

Legal Developments worldwide

Arrests in Saudi Arabia are “Just The Start” Of An Anti-Corruption Drive

January 2018 - Immigration. Legal Developments by OTS Solicitors.

More articles by this firm.

The recent arrest of dozens of Saudi royal figures, ministers and businessmen is just the start of an anti-corruption drive, the Attorney General says.

Those who have been detained include:

  • Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of Kingdom Holding 4280.SE
  • Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, minister of the National Guard
  • Prince Turki bin Abdullah, former governor of Riyadh province
  • Khalid al-Tuwaijri, former chief of the Royal Court
  • Adel Fakeih, Minister of Economy and Planning
  • Ibrahim al-Assaf, former finance minister
  • Abdullah al-Sultan, commander of the Saudi navy
  • Bakr bin Laden, chairman of Saudi Binladin Group
  • Mohammad al-Tobaishi, former head of protocol at the Royal Court
  • Amr al-Dabbagh, former governor of Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority
  • Alwaleed al-Ibrahim, owner of television network MBC
  • Khalid al-Mulheim, former director-general of Saudi Arabian Airlines
  • Saoud al-Daweesh, former chief executive of Saudi Telecom 7010.SE
  • Prince Turki bin Nasser, former head of the Presidency of Meteorology and Environment
  • Prince Fahad bin Abdullah bin Mohammad al-Saud, former deputy defence minister
  • Saleh Kamel, businessman
  • Mohammad al-Amoudi, businessman

A former US official told Robin Wright at The New Yorker: “It’s the equivalent of waking up to find Warren Buffett and the heads of ABC, CBS and NBC have been arrested. It has all the appearances of a coup d’état. Saudi Arabia is rapidly becoming another country. The kingdom has never been this unstable.”

The purge has sent shockwaves through the Middle East. It is believed the actions have been masterminded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was appointed Defence Minister by his father, King Salman in 2015. Last Saturday, King Salman created the new Anti-Corruption Commission and put M.B.S. (as the Crown Prince is commonly known) at the helm. Late night arrests quickly followed.

Ms Wright’s article states: “Many experts predict additional arrests are to come. “It’s a reckless game of thrones,” Sarah Leah Whitson, the director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division, told me. If I were among the Saudi élite today, I wouldn’t be sitting pretty. Many have long been aware that they’re a hair away from chaos. These arrests are another signal.”

Seeking safety in the UK

For Saudi Arabia’s élite, the option to relocate to the UK may be extremely attractive. Many already own businesses, property in London and shares in UK companies and their children are being educated in some of Britain’s top public schools. At this time of instability, the UK offers a stable government, economic prosperity and access to Europe and the Middle East.

There are three main options for high-net-worth Saudi nationals to enter the UK:

As a global immigration firm, highly recommended in the Legal 500, we offer quality immigrationservices to Middle Eastern nationals. Many of our staff are multi-lingual, and we have the connections necessary to make bank introductions and organise meetings with wealth managers and luxury London estate agents.

Tier 1 Investor Visa eligibility

To gain entry into the UK under a Tier 1 Investor Visa, you must have available £2 million of your own money to invest in the UK. You can generally not invest in property; however, you are free to buy a family home. In addition, you must have opened a UK bank account and be over 18 years old. Your dependent family members (your spouse and children under 18 years) can come with you, and there is no requirement to speak English.

Tier 1 entrepreneur visa

Eligibility for a Tier 1 entrepreneur visa rests on having funds of £50,000 or £200,000 available to invest in a UK business. This can either be a start-up or a pre-existing company, but if you are investing your funds into the latter, you need to be a director of the organisation and be involved in the running of the enterprise.

Like the Tier 1 Investor Visa, you can bring your dependents with you to the UK. However, you will need to meet the English language requirement and pass a strict Genuine Entrepreneur Test. This will involve presenting a detailed business plan to Home Office officials and, in some cases, attending an interview. Our immigration lawyers collaborate with some of the best Tier 1 entrepreneur visabusiness plan writers in the UK and on occasion, the business plans have been so detailed and persuasive, the Home Office has waived the requirement for an interview.

Accelerated settlement on a Tier 1 Investor Visa and a Tier 1 entrepreneur visa

Both the Tier 1 Investor Visa and the Tier 1 entrepreneur visa provide a path for accelerated settlement.

Under the Tier 1 Investor Visa, if you meet certain criteria, you may be eligible to extend your visa for a further two years after it expires (within three years and four months). After five years, you can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. You will need to pass the Life in the UK test, and meet the English language and residency requirements, which we can explain to you.

If you have invested £5 million in the UK, you may be able to apply for settlement within three years. An investment of £10 million means you may be able to make an application within two years.

Settlement under a Tier 1 entrepreneur visa may be available after five years, so long as you meet the criteria. However, if you have created the equivalent of 10 full-time jobs for persons settled in the UK or your business has a turnover of £5 million (if you have invested in an existing business, this must be an increase in turnover of £5 million), you may be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after three years.

Claiming Asylum

If you believe you are facing persecution in Saudi Arabia, you may apply for Asylum in the UK. To claim Asylum, you must enter the UK and make a claim as soon as possible. Even if you enter the UK illegally, once you claim Asylum, you are no longer an illegal immigrant, you are an Asylum seeker.

Anyone seeking protection is entitled to stay in the UK while awaiting a decision on their Asylumclaim.

The right to claim Asylum is in international law. Governments are obliged to provide protection to people who meet the criteria for Asylum. The UK has signed these international laws, and they are part of UK legislation.

Seeking Asylum can be complex. Our solicitors are highly trained and experienced in Asylum law, and we are ranked in the Legal 500 for Human Rights and immigration. By contacting our team of international immigration consultants, we can assist you in making a successful Asylum claim.

OTS Solicitors is one of the most respected immigration law firms in London and is Legal 500 leading firm. By making an appointment with one of our Immigration Solicitors, you can be assured of receiving some of the best legal advice available in the UK today.

If you require Immigration law advice, please phone our London office on 0207 936 9960.