Migration data reveals substantial fall in number of Tier 1 Investor visas granted
The latest quarterly immigration statistics released by the Office for National Statistics last week reveal a substantial drop in the number of Tier 1 Investor visas granted during the first six months of 2015.
In the first quarter of 2014, a total of 213 Tier 1 Investor visas were granted to applicants overseas. This figure rose to 251 in the second quarter of the year, before dropping back slightly to 237 in the third quarter. The number of Tier 1 Investor visas granted in the fourth quarter of 2014 then surged dramatically to 471 as applicants rushed to relocate to the UK before the investment funds requirement increased from £1 million to £2 million on 6 November 2014.
In the first quarter of 2015, following the rise in the investment funds requirement, the number of UK Tier 1 Investor visas granted across the globe stood at just 58, a 72% fall on the number granted in the same period during the previous year. This figure dropped further still in the second quarter of 2015, with just 44 Tier 1 Investor visas being granted worldwide between April and June 2015, an 82% fall on the number granted in the same quarter last year.
High net worth Chinese citizens in particular appear to have been taking their investment funds elsewhere. Accounting for 102 of the 251 Tier 1 Investor visas granted in the second 3 months of 2014, just 6 Tier 1 Investor visas were granted to citizens of China in the second quarter of 2015. And a similar trend was visible in Russia. Whereas 72 Tier 1 Investor visas were granted to citizens of Russia in the second quarter of 2014, just 11 Russian citizens relocated to the UK under the Tier 1 Investor scheme between April and June 2015.
The top 10 Tier 1 Investor visa producing countries during the second quarter of 2015 were:
- Russia (11)
- China (6)
- Brazil (5)
- Hong Kong (5)
- Australia (2)
- Iraq (2)
- Kazakhstan (2)
- Malaysia (2)
- Ukraine (2)
- US (2)
The most significant factor in the fall in interest in the UK’s Tier 1 Investor visa worldwide is almost certainly the increase in the level of investment funds required. However, the Home Office’s increased focus on the source of funds is also likely to have contributed to the overall drop in successful applications. And other factors, such as the slowdown in the Chinese economy, the shrinking of the Russian economy and the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s General Election may also have played their part.
What is clear is that whilst the UK’s Tier 1 Investor visa scheme generated £251 million in inward foreign investment during the second quarter of 2014, this figure has fallen to £88 million in the second quarter of 2015. And this cannot be good for the UK’s economy.
It remains to be seen whether the downward trend in Tier 1 Investor visa applications will reverse itself or continue during the second half of the year.
For advice and assistance in connection with applying to enter, remain or settle in the UK as a Tier 1 Investor, contact out investor visa immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via our online enquiry form.