UK Tier 1 Investor Visa
With the introduction of the Statement of Changes on 7th March 2019, which has came into effect on the 29th March 2019; there have been various changes in the UK Tier 1 Investor Visa. This route is designed for ensuring investments done in the UK are providing greater benefit to the economy and protecting that investment against financial crime in a better way. All the applications applied after the date of effect will be subject to these new UK Immigration Rules.
It has been confirmed by the Home Office that Tier 1 Investor Visa Route will remain open and it is not suspended with the enforcement of the changes introduced in the Statement of Changes. Moreover, there are some significant changes done in the Investor category, which will be applicable after 29th March 2019. This route requires applicants to invest at least £2 million in the UK business market and allows successful applicants to leave to remain for 3 years along with their family members, and dependents. Applicants must be able to fulfill all the requirements in order to be successfully getting a visa under Tier 1 Investor Visa Route.
Eligibility (discuss requirements)
There are some significant changes made to the UK Tier 1 Investor Visa category with the onset of the new statement of changes to the UK Immigration Rules. It has been clarified in the Statement of Changes that there are three changes made in the requirements of the initial entry for this visa route.
- An applicant must show that their held funds for investment prior to application from 90 days to 2 years
- It is in the will of the Home Office to refuse any application on the basis of reasonable grounds, where they realise that the investment has been or will be transferred to other countries which are against the law in any of the international states that are being engaged for transfer of funds
- An applicant will be required to give confirmation from a bank or financial institution that all security checks are made to ensure that investment funds are obtained lawfully
Investors will not be required to go through enhanced checks on their business histories or financial situations as was the rule previously to carry out check by a UK regulated auditor prior to visa application under Investor category. Moreover, financial services industry has been engaged by the UK Home Office as how to make this requirement work in a practical manner.
This tier 1 visa is for investors and the eligibility criteria for applications are as follows:
Some other requirements;
- Applicant must be over 18 years old
- Must be based outside of the EEA and Switzerland
- Applicant must open a UK bank account before their application for UK Tier 1 Investor visa
- Applicants must have £2 million or more that they wish to wish to invest in the UK market, and available freely to be spent and held in one or more UK regulated financial institution
- The £2 million investment is the price paid by the applicant rather than the market value
- Funds must be held prior to application of the UK visa, which is from 90 days to 24 months period (before 90 days)
- The requirement for purchasing UK government bonds as a qualifying investment has been excluded
- It must be proved that the investment funds belong to the applicant, their spouse or partner
- Applicants will no longer be eligible to qualify as investors by buying UK national debt
- Applicants must meet at least 75 points score
The qualifying rules for an active or trading company have also been updated and strengthened. First of all in the UK, they should be registered with the Companies House. Second, it must be ensured that they have registered with Customs and HM Revenue for tax collection purposes. Thirdly, applicants must be having a UK bank account that shows their trading activities on a regular basis. Lastly, Investors must have minimum of two employees and are not directors, to be based in the UK.
It is in the hands of the Home Office to refuse any Tier 1 Visa application, if they are not satisfied that the investment funds of the applicant are obtained through illegal sources. Due to this reason, it is always advised to provide evidential documents that show the sources of the investment funds for a minimum of two years but it is not strictly required by the immigration rules. On the other hand, Home Office can also refuse your Tier 1 Investor Visa application if it is believed by them that the applicant is not in full control of the funds for investment or if they have been obtained by the applicant through illegal sources. The new transfer provision merely builds on this power and makes it more explicit.
The duration of the visa under the Tier 1 Investor Route is at maximum 3 years and 4 months at total. After that applicants are required to be applying for extension of visa for further two years so as to reside in the UK legally.
Work and Settlement
The other important changes introduced by the Statement of Changes is that applicants for their business need to be providing financial details of any middlemen that they have chosen to be used. Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) must be regulating these companies. Applicants who are presently staying on Tier 1 Investor Visa in the UK can continue with it and permitted until April 2013 to apply for Settlement.
The qualifying period for settlement depends on the amount invested:
- £10 million allows you to apply for settlement in 2 years
- £5 million allows you to apply for settlement in 3 years
- £2 million allows you to apply for settlement in 5 years
As the applicant and their dependents will be high net worth individuals, they would not be required to provide any evidence of having funds for their maintenance in the UK.