Personal Immigration

Tier 1 Investor and Entrepreneur Visa Approvals Remain Strong

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics today reveal that the number of Tier 1 (Investor) visa applications approved during Q3 and Q4 of 2016 was up 62% on the first two quarters of the year. Meanwhile, the number of Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visas granted during the second half of the year remained broadly the same as in the previous 6 months.

Increase in Tier 1 (Investor) visas

Between October and December 2016, a total of 61 Tier 1 (Investor) entry clearance applications were approved by the Home Office. This was slightly lower than the 72 grants of Tier 1 (Investor) visas in the third quarter of 2016 (itself the highest figure since the first quarter of 2015), but still up on the 40 Tier 1 (Investor) visa approvals in Q2 of 2016 and the 42 Tier 1 (Investor) visa applications approved in Q1 of the same year.

Splitting the year 2016 up into two halves, the UK therefore saw a 62% increase in the number of Tier 1 (Investor) visas granted in the second 6 months as compared with the first.

Almost half of all successful Tier 1 (Investor) visa applications in the last quarter continued to originate from China (22) and Russia (8). The next most popular countries of origin for Tier 1 (Investor) visa applications were Turkey (5) and the United States (3).

Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visas remain steady

The fourth quarter of 2016 saw a total of 201 Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visas granted worldwide. This compared with 204, 198 and 214 grants of Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visas in the third, second and first quarters of 2016 respectively.

The top 5 countries of origin for Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants entering the UK in the last quarter were China (20), India (20), Hong Kong (18), the United States (16), and Pakistan (12).

Comment

In our last post, we observed that the UK may be re-establishing its position as a destination of choice for high net worth investors. This conclusion appears to be borne out by the latest immigration statistics.

Whilst 2016 ended with a slightly lower number of applicants being granted entry clearance as a Tier 1 (Investor) in the final 3 months than in the previous quarter, overall the UK saw a statistically significant 62% increase in the number of Tier 1 (Investor) visas granted in the second half of the year when compared with the first. Meanwhile, interest in the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa category remained strong.

As always, we can only speculate as to the reasons for the continued upward trend. However, it seems likely that the drop in the value of the pound, the prospect of financially self-sufficient non-EU nationals no longer being able to acquire a right of residence in the UK via the acquisition of citizenship of another EU country and the protectionist agenda of the present US administration may all have played their part.

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