18.03.2019 Changes to Tier 1 Investor Visa immigration route

18.03.2019 Changes to Tier 1 Investor Visa immigration route

At the end of 2018, the Home Office announced that the Tier 1 Investor Visa,otherwise known as the “gold-plated visa” used by high net worth individuals wishing to enter and invest in the UK, was to be suspended with effect from the 7th of December, but then appeared to change it mind.

The proposed suspension was meant to be introduced to ensure that there is no abuse of the system and those who legitimately invest in UK businesses will benefit from the investor visa immigration route in the future.

Tier 1 Investor visa category will remain open

The Statement of Changes clarified that the Tier 1 Investor visa category will remain open to new applicants from 29 March 2019.

Changes to the requirements for initial entry, further leave to remain and settlement as a Tier 1 Investor

The following changes are being made to the requirements for Tier 1 Investors from 29 March 2019:

  • Applicants will have to evidence being in control of the £2m investment funds for at least 2 years prior to the date of application, as well as evidencing comprehensive audits of their financial and business interests;
  • Applicants will need to provide confirmation from a UK bank that it has carried out all required due diligence checks and Know Your Customer enquiries;
  • The Home Office will have power to refuse an application where there are reasonable grounds to believe that the funds have been, or will be, transferred internationally by means which are unlawful in any of the countries involved;
  • Applicants will no longer be able to invest in government bonds, and must invest in active and trading UK companies.
  • Intermediary vehicles will need to be regulated by the FCA and, where an intermediary vehicle is used, evidence will need to be provided of the final investment destination and how the funds were transferred there;
  • The definition of ‘active and trading’ companies will be strengthened so that there must be stronger evidence that such companies are trading in the UK;
  • There will be provision for investment in pooled investments which also receive funding from a UK or devolved government department or one of its agencies.

Will existing Tier 1 Investor visa holders be affected?

The above changes regarding 2-year source of funds checks, FCA regulation of intermediary vehicles, investment in UK government bonds and the definition of ‘active and trading’ companies do not have a negative impact on investors already in the category under the rules in place before 29 March 2019. Transitional arrangements will continue until 5 April 2023 for extension applications and 5 April 2025 for settlement applications.

The other changes will apply to future extension and settlement applications by investors, including those already in the category.

Contact Our Lawyers

For expert advice in relation to an application for entry clearance, extension of stay or Indefinite Leave to Remain (Settlement) as a Tier 1 (Investor), contact Svetlova LLP in London on +44 207 129 129 6 or via our enquiry form.