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Cash-strapped Europeans are travelling to Britain to go bankrupt – then returning home debt-free. “Bankruptcy tourism” is becoming so popular that a company is now helping insolvent Europeans to travel and live temporarily in the UK.

Lenient laws mean that foreigners can live in Britain, file for bankruptcy and leave with the slate wiped clean after just 18 months. Laws in other European countries make it tougher to lose bankruptcy status.

In Germany you remain bankrupt for anything between 7 and 9 years, in Ireland you can remain “undischarged” for at least 12 years. Kent-based German company Insolvenz Agentur is helping debt-ridden Europeans move to the UK.

The company makes arrangements for medical provision, housing and even helps provide a UK driving licence. Kent, with its cross channel links and proximity to mainland Europe, is the ideal location.

City accountants admit the phenomenon is becoming more popular, but argue that it can benefit Britain. “Most people coming to do this seek to work whilst they’re here,” says Mark Sands, Head of Bankruptcy at Tenon.

“They come here looking for work, so they contribute to the economy in some respect.” The process of so-called “bankruptcy tourism” is legitimate. Whether it is ethically sound is a longer and trickier argument.

via Arbroath