For high net worth individuals, the Tier 1 Investor Visa is a great pathway into the United Kingdom. The visa requirements are simple. You need to invest a minimum of £2,000,000 in the UK. The investment can be into share capital or loan capital in active and trading UK registered companies (with some exceptions.) Recently, the UK also allowed investment in a pooled investment vehicle where the vehicle also receives funding from the UK government or a devolved government – for example, the British Business Bank or Scottish Investment Bank.
The visa allows you to live, work and/or study in the UK for 3 years and 4 months and is renewable for an additional 2 years. You can apply to settle after 2 years (for investments of over £10,000,000) or 3 years (for investments of over £5,000,000). Visa processing and delivery times are rapid and there were over 1,000 Tier 1 visas issued between January and September 2018.
An Insiders Perspective on the Tier 1 Investor Visa
Below we interview our partner in London to hopefully answer some of the questions you may have:
WCIL: What is the benefit of this visa over other residency by investment visas?
Simply put, Britain is Great! If you wish to be in the UK and can afford to invest £2m for a minimum of 5 years plus meet the fitness objectives; this is a way to migrate to the UK. No matter what your interest, you will most likely find it here from the arts to education to the latest tech companies. Just don’t expect nice weather, on the bright side this allows you to have a bigger wardrobe!
WCIL: What are the most popular investments for applicants of this visa class?
The UK Tier 1 (Investor) visa specifies qualifying investments as share or loan capital of active trading companies. Until March 2019 we saw a high level of interest in UK government bonds. UK government bonds are no longer a qualifying investment. The government has now however introduced investment in a pooled investment as an allowable vehicle where the vehicle also receives funding from the UK government or a devolved government – for example, the British Business Bank or Scottish Investment Bank. Unlike other global investor categories, the UK attracts the discerning ultra-high net worth individuals who are mostly looking to preserve capital rather than try to double their money on bitcoin overnight.
WCIL: Are many people applying for this visa and what is the success rate from your perspective?
As above it attracts the few who have the funds. In numbers, they average around circa 200 to 350 main applicants a year. That’s it. Quality over quantity! The latest statistics I have checked show a less than 5% refusal rate. In the future, this will be higher due to the complexity and specialism of investing and reporting for Investor visa purposes. Over the years the immigration rules have become complex due to abuse. This is not a do it yourself route. Most banks and wealth managers have an expertise in investing but do not have a focus and a specialist department for investor visas.
WCIL: Where do most of the investors come from?
Today it is China, 7 years ago Russia & CIS, prior to that the Middle East dominated.
WCIL: How long does an average application currently take to be processed?
Once you have all your papers completed, VIP appointments are available at short notice. You should get a response on the same day or following day.
WCIL: What has the impact of Brexit been on this visa type?
It has been great! Before the referendum we saw many use Malta or Cyprus’ citizenship by investment programs to gain access to the UK via EU treaty rights. Organisations such as Transparency International and even the European Council have questioned the due diligence these applicants have to go through. If Brexit is successful, this loophole will no longer be viable.
WCIL: Do you have any other advice or comments for interested clients?
Find the experts, build trust, and find out how Great Britain is for yourself.
If you would like to speak to our partner about your investments and the Tier 1 visa, please click here.
Related Blog: Read another Insiders Perspective, this time on the Portugal Golden Visa