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The Tier 1 (Investor) Route - Popular as Ever

28 May 2018 Jack Freeland Business Immigration

22 768x512 002The Tier 1 (Investor) category has always been an attractive route for overseas investors looking to settle in the UK. The recent fallout from the Salisbury poisoning, however, has thrown the Investor route into the spotlight again, with Theresa May now calling for a review of the regime as a whole. The scope of the review is not fully known but the investor scheme has always seen significant tightening of regulatory regimes around it. This article will evidence that, whilst it may appear to be a fragile time for potential applicants under this route, it is still a lucrative regime with more visas being granted under this route in its current form than ever before.

The Tier 1 (Investor)

The Tier 1 (Investor) visa is granted to applicants who invest £2 million or more in UK government bonds, share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies. Most importantly for many applicants, this route provides a route to settlement in the UK after five years. Those who can invest more are incentivised by the opportunity to settle after three years if you invest £5 million, and just two years if you invest £10 million. The money itself must be:

  • Your own money, or money under your control; or money you own jointly with your husband, wife, civil partner, unmarried or same sex partner to which you have unrestricted access; or
  • Money owned solely by your husband, wife, civil partner or unmarried or same sex partner to which you have unrestricted access; and
  • Held in a regulated financial institution; and
  • Disposable in the UK (in UK Sterling and transferrable); and
  • You must open a UK regulated bank account.

There are various further restrictions on what the Home Office will consider as a permitted investment. Paragraph 65 of Appendix A to the Immigration Rules provides an exhaustive list of investments that will not be accepted when applying for an extension of stay or settlement as a Tier 1 Investor. For example, Tier 1 Investors are not permitted to invest in companies mainly engaged in property management or development, and there are also restrictions that apply to investing in offshore companies.

The investment options may seem to be limited, but this is because the original purpose of the regime was to ensure that the category would bring the maximum economic benefit to the UK. Despite these restrictions, it can be seen below that this route is still highly favourable to overseas investors.

More visas being granted than ever before

Statistics from the Home Office reveal that 2017 was the best year on record for the UK’s Tier 1 (Investor) visa program since the investment requirement doubled from one to two million in 2014. 335 main applicants received approvals in 2017, up from 215 in 206, a year-on-year increase of 65%.

The new dependant requirements that came in to force in January 2018 were also thought to have put off many potential applicants, but this has clearly not been the case. The most recent statistics released by the Home Office, last week, reveal that the trend has continued into 2018, with 96 Tier 1 (Investor) visas being issued between 01 January to 31 March 2018.

This represents an 18.5% increase in successful Tier 1 (Investor) applications compared with the previous quarter and a 28% increase on the number of Investor visas approved during the same period in 2017. However, the recent public criticism of Russian investors is evident in the statistics. The number of Russians securing Tier 1 (Investor) visas has halved, with just 8 Russian nationals obtaining investor visas in the first quarter of 2018. This has been offset by the large numbers of Chinese nationals who continue to show interest in the route, accounting 41% of all visas being granted in the same period.

There has, therefore, been a constant and increasing interest in the UK’s Tier 1 (Investor) visa despite recent criticisms and restrictions imposed on the regime. Our immigration solicitors often consult with Tier 1 (Investor) applicants looking to navigate the complexity of the points based system Immigration Rules. If you would like further assistance with your Tier 1 (Investor) application, please contact us for comprehensive, fully up-to-date advice.

 

 

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