In the face of a housing shortage in the UK, a British government-linked firm has partnered up with a Chinese real estate company for an education bond program that would allow international students to become permanent residents in the UK by investing in housing projects.

In a joint statement, InvestUK, a foreign direct investment adviser, and Hong Kong-based Gaw Capital Partners said that they planned to raise £1 billion (US$1.23 billion) from selling the bonds, and some of the proceeds would be channeled towards property projects.

Foreign students who invest at least £2 million (US$2.46 million) will be able to apply for permanent residency after five years.

InvestUK chairman Rupert Gather told Bloomberg in an interview that this was the “future of affordable housing”.

“We can offer some Chinese students what they want – that is permanent residence when they graduate – provided they invest in something the country actually needs,” he added.

Bondholders will be able to study in the UK on a Tier 1 investor visa, which is usually given to wealthy foreign investors who have contributed to the UK by investing in gilts or British companies.

However, since the UK government raised the minimum investment from £1 million to £2 million in 2014, the number of foreign investors have plummeted by 84 percent last year.

Christina Gaw, managing principal and head of capital markets at Gaw Capital, said: “We believe this is a smart and original way to gain residency while benefiting from an education angle.”

“The combination of attractive yield, top quality assets, coupled with attractive long term debt, makes London a particularly compelling market for real estate investments,” she added, as quoted by China Money Network.

Image via Shutterstock

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