Immediate Closure of the Tier 1 (Investor) Visa
At 4pm today, the Home Office closed the Tier 1 (Investor) visa route to new applicants.
Pending Applications for Tier 1 (Investor) Visas
Pending applications for Tier 1 (Investor) visas are unaffected – the Statement of Changes CP632 sets out:
The changes set out in this statement shall take effect at 1600 on 17 February 2022. In relation to those changes, if an application for entry clearance, leave to enter or leave to remain has been made before 1600 on 17 February 2022, such applications will be decided in accordance with the Immigration Rules in force on 16 February 2022.
Applications for Extension of Stay and Settlement as a Tier 1 (Investor)
Those already in the Tier 1 (Investor) route will also continue to be able to apply to extend their stay and settle in the UK. The Explanatory Memorandum provides as follows:
7.1 The effect of this Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules is to close the Tier 1 (Investor) Migrant route, as set out in Part 6A of the Immigration Rules, to new applications. These changes preserve the ability of those who already have leave to enter or remain as a Tier 1 (Investor) Migrant to extend their stay in the route, including an applicant’s ability to make an application for entry clearance outside the UK if they have held leave as a Tier 1 (Investor) Migrant in the 12 month period preceding the date of application, and to apply for settlement.
The deadline for applications for further leave to remain as a Tier 1 (Investor) will be 17 February 2026, and the deadline for applications for indefinite leave to remain as a Tier 1 (Investor) will be 17 February 2028.
Why Has the Tier 1 (Investor) Visa Route Closed?
The stated reasons for closure given by the Home Office are in relation to security concerns about the source of funds, despite amendments to the route in 2019 to address these concerns.
A New Immigration Route for Overseas Investors?
The Explanatory Memorandum refers to upcoming amendments to the Innovator route, but it remains to be seen how effective this can be, and whether this is something of a reversion to the old Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route. The Memorandum states:
7.6 The Government intends to make future alternative provision for investment-related migration through reforms to the existing Innovator immigration route. This will make more targeted provision for investment-related migration, offering a route for entry and stay for overseas nationals with a track record of investment activity overseas and credible plans to engage in such activity. It is expected that these new arrangements will be delivered through further changes to the Immigration Rules in Autumn 2022.
Creating jobs was, of course, never a requirement of the Tier 1 (Investor) route, which involved a passive investment rather than running a company. As such, it may be that there will be no comparable route for wealthy individuals/families to move to the UK going forward. It remains to be seen though what the Home Office means by ‘track record of investment activity overseas’ and to what extent this will require prior experience of running or working for a business.
Further details of the reformed innovator route and the options for overseas investors will be published on our Knowledge Centre as they become available.
Contact our Immigration Barristers
For expert advice and assistance if you were previously considering a Tier 1 Investor visa application, extending your leave or applying for settlement as a Tier 1 Investor, please contact our immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via the enquiry form below.