Investing in the UK: The Tier 1 Investor Visa

The UK’s economy is extremely resilient and continues to provide foreign investors with a stable base to access European markets and beyond. Following the closure of the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa, the Tier 1 Investor visa has become the primary choice for a significant number of investors to come to the UK.

The Tier 1 (Investor) visa has, in recent months, been subject to changes in immigration rules requiring further scrutiny and, in some cases, more paperwork. However, this should not deter genuine applicants as they should still be able to obtain a visa by providing the necessary documents.

The minimum investment requirement for this visa is £2 million and any successful applicant must be able to demonstrate:

  • Control over these assets which are held in a regulated financial institution, and that the funds will be invested in the UK.
  • The funds have been held by the applicant for 2 consecutive years (this requirement was previously 90 days) or if they are unable to provide this evidence, they must provide an acceptable source of these funds.
  • They have opened a bank account with a UK-regulated bank at the time of the application, and the bank has carried out all the necessary due diligence checks including the Know Your Customer (KYC) inquiries related to the applicant.

This route, unlike other routes does not require proficiency in the English language.

Investment

Once the applicant is on this route, it is important that the investment is made within 3 months by way of acceptable investments.

The funds can be invested in active and trading companies in the UK by way of either share capital or loan capital unless the companies mainly engage in property investment, property management or property development. This restriction does not, however, prevent you investing in companies that are mainly involved in construction.

Since 29 March 2019, investment in UK Government bonds, investment through off-shore companies/trusts and investment through open-ended investment companies (such as namcos) is no longer acceptable.

If investment is made through an investment vehicle, this vehicle must be based in the UK and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The applicant must also be prepared to provide all the specified evidence of investment set out in the rules for each transfer of the funds to any intermediary vehicle or vehicles and from the intermediary vehicle to the final destination of the investment.

Comment

The changes to this route add to the complexity of navigating UK immigration law. However, a properly prepared application will still succeed as the further requirements are only to discourage non-genuine applicants.

It is therefore even more important that the rules are strictly followed, and the application is prepared in a manner that is easy to understand and contains all the specified documents in the Immigration Rules.

At Clarkslegal LLP we are able to provide you tailored advice based on your circumstances, advising applicants from initial application stage through to settlement.