UK Tier 1 Investor Visa Not Suspended
On 6 December 2018, it was widely reported in the UK media that the UK Tier 1 Investor visa would be suspended for new applicants at midnight on Friday, 7 December (less than 24 hours later) pending publication of new Immigration Rules in Spring 2019. In fact, the Tier 1 Investor visa never was suspended. The Tier 1 Investor visa category remained, and still remains, open to new applications, albeit with some changes.
UK Tier 1 Investor Visa
The Tier 1 Investor visa category is for non-EEA nationals who are able to make a substantial financial investment in the UK. In order to qualify for a UK Investor visa applicants need to have access to at least £2 million available to invest in the UK. Investor visa holders are permitted to work and engage in business activities. They can also be accompanied or joined by their dependants. The Tier 1 Investor visa typically leads to settlement in the UK after a period of 5 years. Accelerated settlement after 2 or 3 years is available to Tier 1 Investor visa holders who invest more in the UK.
Tier 1 Investor Visa Suspended?
Following the media announcement, there was no official statement or guidance from the Home Office regarding the suspension of the Tier 1 Investor visa. Then, on Monday, 10 December 2018, the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association (ILPA) announced that it had been informed by the Home Office that the Tier 1 Investor visa had not been suspended, as yet. The Home Office could not say if or when any suspension of the UK Investor visa would happen, or how much notice would be given.
UK Tier 1 Investor Visa Not Suspended
On Tuesday, 11 December 2018, the Migration Policy team at the Home Office released the following official statement clarifying that the Tier 1 Investor visa was not suspended:
“The Tier 1 (Investor) visa is not currently suspended. However, the Government remains committed to reforming the route. A further announcement will be made in due course. Any suspension would be implemented through changes to the Immigration Rules.”
In fact, that suspension announcement never materialised. Instead, the Home Office left the Tier 1 Investor visa category open but brought in various changes to the Tier 1 Investor visa immigration rules.
Tier 1 Investor Visa Changes
On 7 March 2019 the Home Office laid Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules HC1919 before Parliament. The Statement of Changes introduced various changes to the Tier 1 Investor visa category designed to better protect against financial crime and ensure that investments are of greater benefit to the UK economy. The changes to the Tier 1 Investor visa rules came into force on 29 March 2019 and apply to all new Investor visa applications made on or after this date.
The main Tier 1 Investor visa changes are:
- Tier 1 Investor visa applicants now need to have held their investment funds for at least 2 years prior to the date of application or provide specified evidence of the source of their funds (see our analysis of the 2 year ‘requirement’);
- The Home Office now has power to refuse an application for a Tier 1 Investor visa where there are reasonable grounds to believe that the investment funds have been, or will be, transferred internationally by means which are unlawful in any of the countries involved;
- Tier 1 Investor visa applicants now need to provide confirmation from a UK bank that it has carried out all required due diligence checks and Know Your Customer enquiries; and
- UK government bonds are no longer a UK Tier 1 Investor visa qualifying investment.
As we explained in ‘Changes to the Tier 1 Investor visa route’, in practice these amendments to the Tier 1 Investor rules will present little difficulty for legitimate and genuine Tier 1 Investor visa applicants.
UK Tier 1 Investor Visa Qualifying Investments
As mentioned above, UK government bonds are no longer a Tier 1 Investor visa qualifying investment. The only qualifying Tier 1 Investor visa investment options are now share capital and/or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies. However, an investment by way of loan capital would include an investment by way of purchase of a portfolio of corporate bonds. A Tier 1 Investor visa qualifying investment needs to be made within 90 days of entering the UK Investor visa category.
Considering a Tier 1 Investor Visa Application? Contact our Immigration Barristers
With the Tier 1 Investor visa category open, if you are considering making an initial Tier 1 Investor visa application, or an application for either a Tier 1 Investor visa extension or Tier 1 Investor visa ILR, contact our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or complete our enquiry form below.