Personal Immigration

Changes to the Tier 1 (Investor) visa category from 13 December 2012

In its most recent Statement of Changes, the UK government has announced more details of its planned changes to the Tier 1 (Investor) visa category of the points-based system. The changes were laid before Parliament on 22 November 2012 and will come into force on 13 December 2012.

In order to qualify for entry clearance or leave to remain as a Tier 1 (Investor) Migrant, you are required to show that you have money of your own, under your own control, held in a regulated financial institution and disposable in the United Kingdom amounting to not less than £1 million. Alternatively, if you hold £2 million or more in net personal assets, then you may rely on a loan of £1 million or more from a financial institution that is regulated by the UK Financial Services Authority.

The current Immigration Rules require that applicants must either provide evidence of the source of the £1 million funds to invest or evidence that they have held the funds for three months in advance of the initial application. On 6 April 2011, a change was introduced allowing applicants to qualify for accelerated settlement in 2 or 3 years (rather than 5 years) if they invest larger sums of money (at least £10 million or £5 million respectively).  However, the relevant Immigration Rules do not currently include any equivalent provision requiring applicants who apply under the accelerated route to provide evidence of the source of the £10 million / £5 million investment funds or evidence that they have held the funds for three months in advance of the initial application.  This will change from 13 December 2012.

A change is also being made to allow a Tier 1 (Investor) migrant’s leave to be curtailed if they fail to maintain the required level of investment for the duration of their leave.

From 13 December 2012, the Immigration Rules will also state explicitly that points will not be awarded for investments that applicants have taken loans out against, or investments that are held in offshore custody. This is the intention of the current rules, which aim to ensure that the investments are under the applicant’s control and are genuinely benefitting the UK.

A further amendment is being made from 13 December 2012 to prevent Tier 1 (Investor) migrants working as professional sportspeople, thereby avoiding the Sports Governing Body endorsement criteria in the dedicated sporting routes in Tier 2 and Tier 5. This mirrors the leave conditions in other Tier 1 categories.

Finally, as with the position under the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category, the rule relating to financial institutions which do not satisfactorily verify financial statements is being expanded to cover the funds that Tier 1 (Investor) applicants are required to invest.

Further details of the Tier 1 (Investor) category will be available once the changes to the relevant Immigration Rules enter into force on 13 December 2012.

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