No growth in number of Tier 1 (Investor) and Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visas granted
Home Office Immigration Statistics for the fourth quarter of 2015 (published 25 February 2016), reveal no growth in the number of Tier 1 Investor and Tier 1 Entrepreneur visas granted when compared with the previous quarter.
Between October and December 2015, a total of 46 applications for entry clearance as a Tier 1 (Investor) were approved worldwide; exactly the same number as were approved in the previous quarter.
The number of successful Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) applications across the globe fell slightly, but statistically insignificantly, from 213 in the third quarter of 2015 to 199 in the fourth quarter.
At year end, the UK had granted a total of just 192 Tier 1 (Investor) visas throughout 2015, down from 1,172 in the previous 12 months. The Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category fared better, but still saw a fall, with a total of 918 Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visas being granted in 2015, compared with 1,087 in 2014.
Russia and China switched places at the top of the Tier 1 (Investor) visa league table during the fourth quarter of 2015, with a total of 9 Tier 1 (Investor) visas being granted to Russian citizens and 8 to citizens of China. Brazil followed closely behind with 7 Tier 1 (Investor) visas being granted to its citizens, whilst citizens of Hong Kong and the Ukraine acquired another 3 each.
Pakistan again dominated the league table for the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category in the fourth quarter of 2015, with a total of 21 Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visas being granted to its citizens. The US was close behind, with a total of 19 Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visas. China generated the third most Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visas with 17 Chinese citizens relocating to the UK in the category, whilst Hong Kong and Iran generated 14 Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visas each.
These figures, building as they do on similar data for the second quarter of 2015, suggest that the significant fall in Tier 1 (Investor) visa applications following the increase in the investment funds threshold from £1 million to £2 million in November 2014 was no flash in the pan. And, any talk of high net worth investors returning to the UK’s Tier 1 (Investor) visa scheme in great number appears premature. The statistics reveal that an average of just 48 Tier 1 (Investor) visas were granted worldwide in each quarter of 2015.
Equally, the prediction that former Tier 1 (Investor) visa applicants who are either unable or unwilling to invest £2 million in the UK would instead seek to enter the UK via the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) route appears not to be borne out by the statistics. Whereas an average of 272 Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visas were granted worldwide in each quarter of 2014, this figure fell to 229 in 2015.
Significant changes to the Immigration Rules are expected in April 2016 and it remains to be seen what impact these will have on the number of investors and entrepreneurs applying to enter the UK. In particular, the Migration Advisory Committee has recommended various changes to the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category with the aim of improving the quality of entrepreneurs entering under the route and maximising the economic benefit to the UK. A separate visa route for talented entrepreneurs looking to establish startup businesses in the UK, assessments by industry experts and even an annual limit on the total number of visas available may all be on the cards.
Richmond Chambers is widely recognised as one of the UK’s leading immigration by investment practices and we continue to assist numerous investors and entrepreneurs to enter, remain and settle in the UK via the Tier 1 (Investor) and Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) routes.
For expert advice in relation to an application for entry clearance, leave to remain of indefinite leave to remain as a Tier 1 (Investor) or Tier 1 (Entrepreneur), contact our investment immigration barristers in London on 0203 617 9173 or via our online enquiry form.