Tier 1 (Investor) – Rule Changes
The Tier 1 (Investor) category caters for high and ultra-high net worth individuals who are making a substantial financial investment to the UK. This category was recently reviewed and amendments were made in November 2014 due to a report published by the Migration Advisory Committee on 28 February 2014. The following changes are being made to this category, partially in response to that report:
- Prospective investors will be required to open a UK-regulated investment account before submitting an initial application. The intention of this change is to ensure that UK banks carry out due diligence checks on those applying for a Tier 1 (Investor) visa before they apply for entry clearance or leave to remain and not after.
- The minimum age for application under the category will be increased from 16, up to 18 years of age. This change is being made to reflect the fact that it is not normally possible for 16 and 17 years old applicants to be wholly in control of their own funds and investments.
- The restriction on investing in companies principally concerned with property investment, property development or property management is being amended slightly, for consistency with the Rules pertaining to the Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) category.
- Major changes are being made to the requirement which states that applicants must maintain their investments. Once enacted, the changes will mean that applicants will no longer be required to invest additional capital if they sell part of their investments at a loss, but they will be required to maintain all their capital within their investment portfolios. Buying and selling investments will continue to be permitted, providing the applicant does not withdraw any capital. This change is being introduced with the intention of removing an unintended incentive for investors to invest in UK government bonds rather than investing in UK companies.
- Minor technical changes are also being made to certain evidential requirements but greater detail on these amendments is yet to be published.
We believe that the above amendments will streamline the Tier 1 (Investor) application process and make for less administration on the legal side. The change regarding the age threshold could prove problematic for high net worth individuals who plan to send their children to school in the UK under a Tier 1 (Investor) visa, gifting to their child the funds required. If you would like advice and assistance with submitting an application governed in accordance with the new changes, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our team of highly experienced and dedicated immigration solicitors will be on hand to help you with every step of the application process.